“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:1-10).
The way we dress tells others what kind of person we are. If we are scruffy, then it probably reveals a disordered life. We can also tell what a person’s interests are by their dress mode, especially if they are wearing sportswear in support of a football team. People being buried are dressed in grave clothes, while those getting married are arrayed in wedding garments. How are we dressed?
What are we wearing?
As born-again, Bible-believers we are meant to be adorned with new life. We “should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). As Paul says in our opening text, we can only walk in this new life if we have cast away the robes of death and clothed ourselves with those Christ has provided for the ones who are truly saved, which is the same as being clothed with Him, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). “The unregenerate nature which ye had before conversion” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary).
The graves clothes
The saved are destined to participate in the marriage feast of Christ, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9), therefore they should not be wearing grave clothes. The grave clothes are the lifestyle, behaviour and deeds of the old life prior to us coming to Christ. Paul makes it clear that we were disrobed of the old life the moment we were saved. The problem is that we sometimes like to relax in our old clothes, and this is unfortunately true in the spiritual sense too. We must once and for all put off that which characterised our former life so that there is no possibility of reverting to it.
The old life is only fit for destruction anyway, so being dressed in its robes would invalidate our invitation to the Wedding Feast. “When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14). We see then the necessity of wearing the garments the Lord has provided for the “called” for it is the only way they can be the “chosen.”
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
We must actively put on our new clothes as we face each day until we are called into Christ’s presence. These robes are designed by the Lord Himself and bear His insignia, “Righteousness and True Holiness”, on the chest. This means that we are not adorned with what controls this world. “The new man has a new heart, new thoughts, a new life. Which is renewed in knowledge. With the new man there is a growth, a renewal. He grows continually in knowledge of Christ and into his image” (People’s New Testament Commentary).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Instead we are “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16). This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, for it is the transforming power of everyday, practical sanctification.
Are we still clothed with the rags that are only fit for the grave, or are we adorned with the wedding robes given to us by Christ? Is our everyday behaviour proof of our allegiance to the Lord and that we are truly a new creation? “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We cannot hope to gain entrance into Heaven if we have not cast off the robes of unrighteousness. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). So if we turn up at the Lord’s Wedding Feast in our old clothes, then it will be our own funeral.