Clothed in Grace

Every day one of the first questions that most people must answer is what am I going to wear today? A lot will depend on the season of the year, the weather, and what you will be doing during the day. Some people will give much thought and consideration into what they will choose to wear. Others will throw on anything to get themselves dressed. 

According to the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve did not have to make that decision in the very beginning. According to Genesis 2: 25, And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Sin had not yet entered the picture. Their nakedness symbolized their purity. There was no need for coverings. Yet, as the story unfolds, the first couple disobeys God, sin enters the picture, and immediately they realize their nakedness. Ashamed of what they had done, they now cover themselves with leaves to hide their nakedness.  

Hiding in the bushes, God confronts Adam and Eve. God questions them and asks if they have disobeyed him. After confessing their sin, God issues a judgment. The first couple will no longer be able to remain in their garden home. With this divine eviction in place, the writer of Genesis tells us, “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) Even though they would suffer sin’s consequences, God would not put them out in the cold.  Instead, God replaces their leafy wardrobe with garments of skin. Without his help, they would not survive in a sin broken world. God would clothe them in grace.

We are a long way from Eden, but we, too, have been clothed by God’s grace. Rather than leaving us alone in a world of sin, God offered his presence to remain with us, even in our sin. Yes, we have disobeyed God, but God refused to give up on us. Just as God’s presence would cover the sinful couple, God’s presence covers us even in our sin.

However, God still knew we needed more.  While clothed in his presence, we still suffer from our sinfulness.  As a result, God sent his only son into the world to wear and bear our sin upon the cross.  In Jesus’ death and resurrection on Calvary, God brought a new day out of Eden’s tragedy.  No longer would we be defined by our sin, but in Jesus, we are defined by God’s grace.  Paul, in his letter to the Galatia, would state it this way, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”(Galatians 3: 27).  And then to the Ephesians, Paul would write,“For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

What we experience in Jesus is the ultimate wardrobe change.  The old self, stained and broken by sin, is clothed anew in Jesus.  Jesus returns us to the way God intended it from the beginning.  Jesus is our new beginning.  We no longer need to carry the weight of our sin and shame, but we are now clothed in God’s grace.  In Jesus, God completes the wardrobe He started with Adam and Eve.  We now wear the finished product.

Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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