There is a fairly consistent theme in scripture about being clothed, specifically about being clothed in righteousness. Job puts on righteousness and it clothes him (Job 29:14), Isiah speaks of garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness(Isiah 61:10) and even goes so far as to speak of it as a breastplate (59:17). Revelation even warns us of not soiling our garments instead to keep them white all the while we are all to often not clothed at all having no garment of righteousness to even soil.
Few of us would consider going to the store naked. Few of us would pump our gas without pants. Few of us would mow the lawn in our undergarments. Most of us regularly go to church and stand before God claiming worship and praise sans any sort of appropriate clothing. Many of us have engaged in conversations about what is proper church attire, but how many of us have said that the proper attire to come before the Lord is indeed righteousness? How many of us even know what righteousness is?
It’s Sunday morning and we get up, we choose our clothes and we set out. We forget to clothe ourselves in righteousness. We assume it is there, we forget that we should, we believe we have it of ourselves, or any other number of reasons. We are naked. Instead of having the good sense to be afraid and ashamed of our state as were Adam and Eve in the garden, we delight in it and prance around. For all of the good it does us, we may as well be pole dancing for the heads of the faithful. (In case you missed it, that is a Salome reference.) That’s right, we may as well dance for the heads of the faithful for all the good our nakedness does us. Daily, even hourly and more, we must clothe ourselves in righteousness, or risk being naked before the God who has given us new garments.
So what do these clothes of righteousness look like? They are amazing in their diversity and beauty. They look like the continual sanctification of the faithful, they look like the waters of baptism and the Eucharist, they look like the store cashier who, upon noticing your necklace, says God bless you. The only thing that we need to remember is that they are clothes given to us, not clothes that we have of our own accord. Our garments of righteousness are indeed the salvation and justification received through the blood of Christ as well as the sanctification that we continually work our with fear and trembling. When was the last time you cleared out your closet? When was the last time you looked to see what no longer fit? When was the last time that you took a real inventory of life to make sure that your clothes were indeed new and not old and moth eaten? When was the last time that you actually payed attention to what your garments of righteousness actually looked like? When was the last time that you made certain that you were not dancing naked before God on the very clothes that He provided for you through Christ?
The good news is that there is no shortage of righteousness for us to put on. God’s wardrobe is infinite. Our justification and sanctification are continually available for us to grab on to and clothe ourselves in. Look in a spiritual mirror and see if you are indeed naked when you should be clothed. Check the drawers and closet to ensure that the garments are not old, but new each day. Give up the cheap and tawdry garments that you would choose and instead allow a loving father to clothe you in the perfect garments that He has prepared. Clothing is not optional in this faith, indeed it is required of us, but not just any clothes, the proper clothes. Let the Father dress you.
We have all become spiritual strippers doing all that we can to tear off our righteousness instead of earnestly seeking more to put on. We find excuses to justify our sin. (Take off the top), and excuses for why we have not fed the poor (off with the pants). We have criticized the beggar instead of trying to do something to meet their needs (socks go flying). Collect the cheers and tips from the crowd. You get the picture. While none of the faithful would rightly consider pole dancing before Jesus, the reality is that we already are because we refuse to clothe ourselves in the garments purchased for us through His precious blood. The prophets delighted in these garments, while we do everything that we can to strip them off and throw them to the adoring crowds of the world. The world begs us to strip ourselves bare all the while cheering and throwing us cheap tips while the Father weeps, the Son begs for our forgiveness and the Spirit does all it can to tell us that we need to put more on, not take more off. We are Salome dancing for the head of John the Baptist, we are Gomer being unfaithful, we are indeed the very people that God threatened to divorce Himself from. We are strippers on the stage of the world and we are good at what we do. God be merciful toward us. God be merciful to me.