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Foundation Truth, Number 14 (Summer 2006) | Timeless Truths Publications
Holy Spirit

Worldly Dress

The Word of God comes close and lays down certain rules concerning the Christian’s dress. The command of the Word is, “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”* (1 Corinthians 6: 20) We must “be holy both in body and in spirit.”* (1 Corinthians 7:34) If we have holy, humble hearts, hearts free from vanity and pride, then our outward lives must in every way be consistent with the inward condition. Now when people’s hearts are full of “the pride of life,”* (1 John 2:16) how do they manifest it? By proud actions and by worldly dress. They seek to adorn themselves with gold, pearls, diamonds, rubies, and costly array; until the beholder views a dazzling display of ear-rings, finger-rings, bracelets, lockets, and other ornaments; not to mention an immense amount of other costly, useless, and foolish array. What does the Word of God say on this subject?

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel: but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”* (1 Peter 3:3-4) Yet how many professing Christians totally disregard the plain teaching of the Word on this point and dress in all the pride and fashion of this world!

In the scriptures just given, the apostle Peter forbids the wearing of that outward adornment which is suggested by pride; but the apostle Paul goes a step further and shows how Christian women must be dressed. He says, “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”* (1 Timothy 2:9-10) They must be arrayed in “modest apparel… not with gold, or pearls, or costly array.” These articles of adornment, then, are not modest apparel. The wearing of them is prompted, not by feelings of humility and modesty, but by pride in the heart. It is plain from this scripture that such things do not “become women professing godliness.” Reader, are you a woman “professing godliness”? Are you adorned with these things? If so, then they do not “become your profession,” and you are not arrayed in “modest apparel.”

“Modest apparel” requires a dress that is clean and neat, and so as not to become immodest, through failure to measure up to ordinary standards of decency; but, on the other hand, it is dress that is free from useless, worldly trimmings and accompaniments, from ostentation and show. Earrings, fingerrings, necklaces, lockets, bracelets, feathers, artificial flowers, and many other like things, are “not of the Father, but [are] of the world,”* (1 John 2:16) when it comes to the matter of the Christian’s dress.

“Be not conformed to this world,”* (Romans 12:2) the Word of God rings out, and all the pure and holy in heart are ready to say amen.

These principles apply with equal force to the male sex. The foolish, vain, and immodest styles and fashions to which the worldly-minded cater are an abomination in the sight of God and in the sight of His redeemed saints. Do not deceive yourself, reader, in the belief that you can continue to wear things which the Word of God forbids, and still be a spiritual person, filled with the grace of God. It is impossible. God’s children are to be “obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.”* (1 Peter 1:14)

How often we meet professing Christians who are living in open violation of this part of the Bible, and who, when we mention the fact to them, are ready to excuse themselves, saying, “Oh, these things are not in my heart”! Well, if they are not in the heart, then why are they carried about on the person? When we enter the city and see a display-sign outside of a store, we naturally expect to find the goods thus advertised kept in stock in that store. Now, we know that proud people manifest their pride in their dress. If you are humble in heart, free from this worldly abomination, and do not wish to be mistaken for a proud person, then take down the sign. If you think these things are not in your heart, then it will be a very easy matter for you to prove it by obeying God’s Word and removing them from your person. When you undertake to do this, however, you may find, as thousands of others have found, that the love of such things goes deeper than you have ever imagined. Your teeth may rest so easily in your mouth that you seldom think of them; but when the dentist attempts to remove one, you become painfully aware of the fact that it has long roots and draws hard. Similarly you may be so accustomed to wearing worldly adornments that they seem perfectly natural and easy, so that you are deceived into thinking that they are all on the outside; but when you attempt to obey God’s Word and discard them, you will find that they are rooted in your affections and reach down deep into the soul. But Jesus says, “If a man love me, he will keep my words.”* (Jn. 14: 23) “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”* (Lk. 6:46)