I was flipping through the tv channels recently and caught a few seconds of an interview with a cultural icon. The interviewer pulled this star aside as she was headed into an entertainment award show. What held me on that channel was the reporter’s first question.
Who are you wearing?
The question sounds a bit odd. However, we can discern the intended meaning of the question from the context. Who designed that dress? Who are you representing by wearing that dress? See, the name of an elite designer communicates status, importance, meaning, and worth. Most of us cannot afford custom designer clothing. Most of us are not invited to televised award shows to be displayed before the watching world. Yet we are on display to those around us.
Nakedness and the Search for Meaning
We are all searching for value and meaning in some sense or another. And we are all judged, and judge others, on these grounds. So we clothe ourselves in cultural signifiers that communicate worth and status. Why?
Immediately following the fall of mankind our first ancestors were found naked and ashamed. Adam and Eve rejected their covering under the Lordship of God and grasped for worth and status in and of themselves. Ashamed of their nakedness they grasped for new covering. And we have tried to clothe our shame and find significance in our coverings ever since. There is only one covering that will sufficiently clothe our nakedness and give us true rest.
One of the Apostle Paul’s favorite metaphors describes “putting on” or “clothing oneself” in Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom.13:12; Eph.4:24; Col.3:12f.). Paul likens Christ to a garment. The idea of “putting on” Christ implies 3 very important gospel truths. (These truths were outlined similarly in Tim Keller’s study on Galatians)
- Clothing Communicates Our Identity
Our clothing communicates to the world who we are. Clothing shows others that we are identified with a particular gender, social class, or national group.To say that Christ is our clothing is to say that our ultimate identity is found in him and not in any other classification.
- Clothing Shields Our Nakedness
Clothes are kept closer to you than any other possession. We rely on clothing for shelter every moment of every day. To say Christ is our covering is to call us to continual dependence and awareness of Him. Clothing ourselves in Christ should remind us of his presence.
- Clothing Adorns Us
Clothing is also worn as adornment. To say that Christ is our clothing is to say that in God’s sight we are loved because of Jesus’ work and salvation. The metaphor of “putting on Christ” is a comprehensive metaphor for the entirety of life. In Christ we have his Spirit and are imputed his record. This should permeate everything we think, say, and do.
As Christians we are covered by Jesus, “wearing Christ” before God. But if your neighbor or friend were to ask you – who are you wearing? – what would you say? More importantly, who would they say?