The Christian's Dress
Scripture: Deuteronomy 22:5
Sermon preached at Gospel Light Christian Church, Singapore
on 26 April 1992
Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.
Introduction: We all know that dress sends strong messages, therefore we must know the biblical principles governing it.
Clothes - the result of sin: No creation of God (whether animate or inanimate) really appears more attractive in a covering - not even the "ugly" caterpillar or the "bare" rock. There is a natural beauty in all of God's creation, including the human body. Yet humans, alone of all God's creatures, are ashamed of their bodies and cover it with clothes and cosmetics. This was not so in the beginning but only after the Fall did man become ashamed of himself and his body (GEN 3:7). Clothes and cosmetics are therefore not man's glory over lower animals but rather a reminder of his shameful sinful state.
Clothes - a covering: The first clothes were the sewed fig leaves that Adam and Eve made to cover their shame (GEN 3:7). But these were inadequate and immodest (GEN 3:8), so God in His mercy made an adequate dress from animal skins to clothe them modestly (GEN 3:21). Therefore, the primary purpose of any dress is that it should be an adequate cover for modesty. Fashion may prescribe immodest dress (eg mini dress, bikini, short shorts, revealing tight clothing) but Christians must always dress modestly. The use of immodest clothing would hurt a Christian's conscience (and like Adam he would "hide" from God). Also immodest dressing may tempt others to commit "mental" adultery (MAT 5:28), and because men are more prone to this sin, ladies are especially warned to dress modestly (1TI 2:9).
Clothes - a differentiation: God created humans, man and woman, to typify Christ and Christians respectively (EPH 5:23). Therefore the man was created stronger typifying the "head and savior" (EPH 5:23) who would lead, protect and provide for the woman, whilst the woman was created weaker (1PE 3:7) typifying Christians who depended on Christ's leadership, protection and provision and would only serve as a "help" (GEN 2:18, 2CO 6:1). Therefore, man's dress must typify leadership and strength whilst woman's dress must typify weakness and dependency. Any manner of dressing that blurs this differentiation of the sexes is a sin (DEUT 22:5). Man's dress must therefore reflect authority and strength in its style (eg "fitting" cut like pants), color (eg strong color like navy blue) and fabric (eg strong material like denim). Even man's hair should typify this (1CO 11:14). The woman, on the other hand, should reflect a picture of dependency and so her dress should have soft lines, gentle colors (with fragile patterns like flowers), fine fabrics and her hair should be long and graceful (1CO 11:15).
Sunday best: The way we dress for church will, to a large extent, signal to the world the holiness (ie separateness), greatness, beauty, harmony, humility and worth of our God.
The balance: Though we must dress carefully according to biblical principles, yet we must not be overly concerned with dressing nor waste unnecessary time and money on it (MAT 6:28-33).
Conclusion: May our dress not grieve God but glorify Him.