The unpredictable world of fashion is often difficult to keep up with. One week, it is good to wear plaid and the next week we are considered fashion illiterate if we wear plaid. Fashion tips help shape this culture. If fashonistas declare tight clothes are in, teens will flock to the malls and buy “spray-on” clothes. In a few months, the heads of fashion will turn and the malls will be inundated with the fashion conscious again. Fashion shows and magazines abound for the fashion savvy who want to keep up with the changes and cycles. However, in the midst of the temporary trends of fashion, there are some fashion tips that remain true and classic, regardless of time, place, or person.
There are two heavenly fashion tips that everyone needs to heed. By following God’s guidelines, we will always be in style—his style. The world will not be impressed, but God surely will be.
The first tip comes from the book of Jude, “Save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:23). Here Jude gives the proper attitude toward sin which all should possess: hatred toward the “garment stained by the flesh.” This hyperbole indicates how sin contaminates everything in our lives. When someone wants to obey the gospel, he must turn away from sin—repent (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19). His attitude toward sin must change from love (1 John 2:15-17) to abhorrence (Rom 12:9). Jude says we are to hate the garment of sin. “Garment” represents lifestyle, in this case, the lifestyle of sin.
The idea of setting aside one’s old clothes at a time of spiritual renewal was not new to Jude’s readers. When God told Jacob to return to Canaan, Jacob went and prepared his family for the journey. “So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments’” (Gen 35:2). There was a new life waiting for Jacob and his family, and a new life meant a new attitude toward God and righteousness. To help keep the new life before the eyes of his family, he had them put away the old clothes of the old life.
The new life of the cleansed leper was signified by the cleansing at the temple and the burning of his old clothes (Lev 13:52).
Hating sin is a godly attitude because God hates sin (Pro 6:16-19). Hating sin, and everything associated with it, we must come to his grace. Through baptism, the old-man-of-sin garment that we once wore is crucified and removed. By hating those garments, we keep ourselves in the love and mercy of God (Jude 1:21).
God’s other fashion tip comes from Galatians 3:26-27, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The first tip tells us what to avoid wearing. This tip tells us what to wear. We are to put on Christ. This means that we put on his lifestyle, wear his example, allow him to have complete reign in our lives. Paul made it clear, “For me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21).
What is the initial step of putting on Christ? Baptism. As the old clothes spotted by the flesh are removed in the waters of baptism, the new garment of Christ is donned. Look again at Paul’s statement, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). By continuing to walk in the light of Christ’s example and having him exemplified in our lives, we keep him on as our covering cloak.
Paul sums up both fashion tips in the book of Romans, “Do not be conformed [fashioned] to this world…. Be conformed [fashioned] to the image of his Son” (Rom 12:2; 8:29). That is, don’t look like the world, look like Christ. We must submit to God’s wisdom in fashion. The world will balk, and mock the Christian for being out of touch with their fashion sense (1 Pet 4:4). Rebelling against the heavenly style jeopardizes our souls. We need to forget about the petty designer labels of the world and seek only to meet the Divine Label of God.