Stay Dressed for Action

by Scarlett Stough

My closet is full of clothes: clothes, stained and old, kept for painting and really grungy dirty work; there are clothes, clean, casual but in good repair for shopping or recreational activities, and clothes for an event requiring a dressier outfit. For really special occasions, a new outfit may need to be purchased. Of course, there must be shoes to match the occasion.

Whether the selection in a closet is large or small, we usually have a variety. In the Holy Scriptures we can find many references to garments starting in the Garden of Eden. The first couple became ashamed of their nakedness because they turned away from their Creator to a lie. God went looking for them and he dressed them, hinting at the Savior to come. Jesus the Messiah did come, fulfilling that long ago promise.

Jesus instructs his disciples to be “dressed for action” (Luke 12:35 ESV) and told them “You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40 ESV). These words are just as relevant for the disciples of Jesus today as they were when he spoke them.

He promised to return after he completed the mission planned from the beginning; he completed his mission on the cross and in his resurrection. Before he returned to his Father in heaven, he commissioned his disciples to continue the mission so others could also become disciples down through the ages as each new generation continued the mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus and salvation from the wrath of God, and from sin and death.

Matthew records a parable of Jesus in which he gave a strong warning against not being dressed properly for a king's wedding. The wedding garment is a symbol of something more important than being dressed appropriately for a formal occasion (Matthew 22:1-14).

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Romans 13:14 ESV).
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27 ESV).
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10 ESV).

The book of Revelation tells us “fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Revelation 19:8 ESV). We are also shown people wearing white robes who are serving God; these robes are white because: “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14b ESV).

Wearing a robe of salvation given by Jesus is only the beginning. This robe is the outfit we need for service (“righteous deeds”).

Over this garment of salvation and righteousness given to us by Jesus the Christ, we are also counseled to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11 ESV). The life in Christ is not a life of leisure; it is a life of service and doing battle against evil using the spiritual weapons God provides. Today we wear our work clothes. When Jesus returns we get to wear our formal attire.