Saturday, May 28, 2011

Clothed in His Righteousness

As we have studied, Jesus was able to bear the punishment for all our sin so that it would be imputed to His account, while His perfect righteousness was attributed to our account. When Holy God, the righteous Judge, looks at those who trust Christ as their Savior, He therefore sees the perfect righteousness of His Son, and not our sins that would otherwise separate us from His holiness. Jesus, while completely divine and also perfectly holy, was able throughout His earthly ministry to mingle with, touch, heal, and raise the unclean, sick, wicked and even the dead without ever being corrupted or defiled by them.

Jesus freely gave forgiveness of sins, peace, and eternal life to the sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and poured out her earthly treasure, in the form of perfumed ointment in an alabaster box (Luke 7:37-50). Jesus cast out demons from a naked man who lived in the tombs, and healed Him rather than rejecting this outcast whom society considered to be crazed, wicked, and unclean (Luke 8:27-36).

What is the significance of this man's nakedness? Before the Fall, nakedness was a sign of innocence. God created us in His own image, and before sin entered into the hearts of Adam and Eve, they were naked yet not ashamed (Gen. 2:25). The first couple were literally one flesh, as God created Eve from Adam’s side (Gen.2: 21-24). This first marriage was not only God’s example of what every marriage thereafter should be – an intimate, exclusive union of man and woman (Matt. 19:3–6) but also a beautiful foreshadowing of the mystery of Christ’s union with the church, or body of believers (Eph. 5: 30-33).

After the fall, when Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their nudity took on a different meaning because they became aware of sin, they realized the role that sexual temptation can play in sin, and they attempted to cover themselves with fig leaves (Gen. 3:7-8). Before this they had enjoyed perfect fellowship with God; now their sin separated them from that fellowship and gave them reason to fear God (Gen. 3:10).

In the Garden, there was no death until sin entered in by the fall. For that reason Adam and Eve and all the animals were herbivores, eating only fruit and plants. Once Adam and Eve sinned, the first death occurred when God killed animals to clothe Adam and Eve and hide their nakedness, or cover their sin (Gen. 3:21). This sacrifice was a foreshadowing of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that would not just cover our sins but remove them for all time.

From that day forth, man has had a sense of modesty and shame resulting in the wearing of clothing to cover nakedness. When man rebels against God and instead of being ashamed of his sin is proud of it, as is so often the case today, modesty tends to disappear. In the case of the demon-possessed man, we see it in the extreme, where the indwelling evil is completely unchecked by the Holy Spirit or any Godly influence and he runs around in public completely naked.

Thank God that Jesus does not reject us in our sinful state, but that He seeks us out where we are, casting out our wickedness to restore us to our right mind and to fellowship with Him, so that we can sit humbly at His feet (Luke 8:27-36) and unite with Him spiritually as the bride of Christ. Praise God that by grace through faith we can leave behind our nakedness and be clothed with His righteousness.

Rev. 19: 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Love in Him,

Laurie Collett

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