Monday, March 10, 2008

Clothed In Righteousness

Last week was my worst week this year, it was really tough for me, and I was in dark depression and really stuck in my own sin and beating myself up over it. I've been struggling with how God views me. I feel alot actually like Martin Luther giving his first mass and feeling totally depraved, but at the same time I've read alot of Catholic theology and Arminian theology that says God loves everyone and they are precious to him and made in his image. Then I started to think about an idea I see in scripture. The bible describes people's standing with God by how they are clothed. For example in Ezekiel (one of my favourite books) he says:

"They will put on sackcloth and be clothed with terror. Their faces will be covered with shame and their heads will be shaved."-Ez 7:18

I feel sometimes like I am clothed with terror, so afraid that fear absolutely envelopes me. But look at what Isaiah says in contrast:

"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness" -Isa 61:10

In 2 Chronicles 6 "May your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness."

Adam and Even in Genesis 2 were described as being naked but feeling no shame. That I believe was the ideal that has been forever lost. We will always be clothed now somehow. Will God clothe us with shame or terror? Look at Galatians 3 "all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ".

We are clothed with Christ through baptism and faith (mentioned in the preceding verse)

It is amazing to think about the state of humanity after the fall, how we all fashion our own fig leaves and try to hide. Others try to fashion clothes from good works or theological knowledge, but in the end, the dress code is different. It is Christ's righteousness, not our own.

"the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality" -1 Cor 15:54

This is the great idea that I love in the Protestant Religion. In Catholicism God enables you but you still have to work to make yourself righteous by right living. In contrast, Protestants believe that the sinner enters God's presence clothed in Righteousness - Christ's Righteousness, not our own. It is a beautiful image of the ragged beggar being adorned with a rich robe that he does not deserve and cannot afford. It would be ridiculous if the poor man pulled out some pennies of his good works trying to buy the rich robe of Righteousness which he could never afford, it is pure grace.

One famous protestant reformer wrote beautifully on the topic:

"This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, He has made with us; that becoming Son of man with us, He has made us sons (and daughters) of God with Him; that by taking on our martality, He has conferred His immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power, that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself (which oppressed us), He has clothed us with His righteousness" -John Calvin

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