What are you wearing?
A dear friend and I have recently been ‘doing our colours’, i.e. learning which colours we look best in so as to assemble our wardrobes wisely. This, as well as being enormous fun, has given me much food for thought. A similar wardrobe clear-out and transformation must occur when we are born again into Christ Jesus. A conversation with this aforementioned dear friend has left me thinking on the invitation we receive in Christ to be made new. As we believe and put our trust and hope in him, we begin to experience the new creation within us. This new creation is, in many ways, a re-creation. It involves a rebirth into the first creation once more and permits righteousness and perfection to pervade. Part of this transformation involves an exchange. We must receive new robes.
Our old, soiled garments, which we have worn for so long, must be cast aside. These are garments that we have loved for their great comfort and familiarity. They are worn in and worn out. We have grown far too fond of them and have never once thought to remove them or have them washed. Once white and new, they are now covered in the stains of sin. The tragedy is that we have become too blind to see the colour they have become. When we receive Christ into our hearts, he opens our eyes to the filth in which we have been living. He asks us to renounce our rebellion and return like the prodigal son. As we do, he gives us a new robe; his very finest. This is a gift given to each son and daughter of God. It is an invitation into sonship and righteousness. But, as with all invitations, the recipient must respond.
There are three stages of spiritual redressing: we must receive the new garment, remove the old and put on the new. Many complete the first step and gladly receive the new clothes that come with confession. However, sadly, a large number stop there. They choose to leave the new garment hanging in the wardrobe, admiring it from afar but never putting it on. They would rather remain in their soiled clothes than be dressed in righteousness. The garment of God not only signifies salvation but is a mark of authority and identity. In biblical times prophets would wear mantles as a sign of their calling from God. When our Father gives us a new coat, it symbolises our receipt of all authority in heaven and on earth in Christ Jesus. Therefore, to reject God’s gift to his prodigal children is to fail to operate in the authority of sonship.
Once a soul is made aware of its sinful state, and the aching gap between our world’s reality and the Kingdom of God, it cannot help but yearn for more. Many of us feel this aching inside of us, longing for more Kingdom breakthrough. I have often found myself in this category. What we have failed to realise is that God has given us a garment of righteousness, authority and power. We’ve left it in the wardrobe and forgotten about it – failing to understand that it is so much more than a piece of cloth. God has equipped his children with all that we need to be the salt and light of the world. He has declared that we will see and do greater things than Jesus himself. We need to put on the new clothes.
However, we cannot wear the new garment without first removing the old one. This can prove far more challenging than expected. We must rid ourselves of our familiar patterns of sin which have become our covering. This doesn’t mean keeping those rags in the wardrobe so that we can put them on again. It means casting them away, giving them to Jesus and never looking back. But many of us are comfortable in sin and would like to remain in denial whilst taking what we want from God at our convenience. It simply does not work like that. The Lord Most High is a holy God and only the holy can come near to him. We have no hope to be holy, as he is holy; no hope except in Christ. Only when we have truly repented and received salvation through faith in Jesus can we draw near to the throne of the Father, wearing the spotless robes of his Son. This is the most glorious clothes swap the world has ever seen. That Jesus would choose our rags over his robes is utterly audacious. This is the nature of grace.
Some of us have made the step to remove and cast away the old clothes. But only a few have donned the new garments of grace. The rest are spiritually naked. They have renounced their sinful ways but are yet to begin walking in the authority of sonship. In between the old and the new, we are exposed and vulnerable so hide safely behind closed doors. Whilst we sometimes allow God in, often we attempt to hide from his all-seeing eyes as well. We miss out on the glorious adventure of walking in the world, knowing we are no longer of it, with the resurrection life of Jesus coursing through our veins. This fullness of life is found only in putting on the new robe. Only then are we clothed in all dignity as sons and daughters of God. The full implications of our sonship with Christ are more marvellous than we could ever imagine. If we were all to put on and wear our new garments, then the world would never be the same.
My question to you is: what are you wearing? Have you received the new, finest robe from your heavenly Father? Are you still clinging to those old rags that you’ve become so comfortable in? Or have you taken them off? Have you failed to put on the new robe, leaving you exposed? Or have you slipped your arms into the mantle of Christ Jesus and allowed him to adorn you with all righteousness, authority and power? My prayer for you is that you will complete all three steps and be among those clothed in holy garments. Receive the gift that your Father is offering to you and don’t delay in exchanging the old for new. Trust me, his fashion sense is way better than yours.
The old is gone. The new is here.