Biblical Modesty in a Modern World (pt. 3)

In this post I mentioned that I would post the talk that I gave on modesty to the girls at Awana last week.  I am going to post it in parts.

This is a topic that I am passionate about.  And, as I am sure you will see, it is also one that I have some very strong convictions about!  I have tried very hard to base my beliefs and convictions on what God’s Word says about the way we as Christian women are to speak, act, and dress.  But, in developing, not only this lesson, but my convictions and philosophy on this topic over the past several years, I have also consulted the writing of many godly men and women.  And, as a result, I collected way more information than could ever have been shared in a short 30 minute presentation…or in a single blog post, for that matter!  

But, as I said before, I do not feel as though, in the short time I had, I was able to do justice to this soapbox of mine.  So, these posts are going to include “extra” material that, although I would have loved to include, I just did not have the time to share with the girls at Awana.  So, think of these posts as the “director’s cut.”  (You know, the DVD’s with the extra scenes, or bonus footage, which was not included in the version of the film that was shown in theaters.)

I used much of what I wrote about here, and here, in my introduction to the girls.  So, I won’t re-post that portion of the talk.  (But, feel free to check them out and catch up if you would like.)  For now, I am just going to jump right in, and continue where I left off (here)…

I covered 3 main points with the girls:

  1. The need for modesty
  2. The purpose, or the goal of modesty
  3. And the practice of modesty

Each point, of course, had its own sub-points, as all good outlines do!  So, today, I am just going to start with the first point:

The Need for Modesty
The question “Why is modesty such a big deal?” can be answered very simply, with one word…sin.  Okay, maybe that sounds a little too simplistic…So, let’s start at the beginning. 

The Fall of Man, Genesis 3:

“While clothing might meet the need of providing warmth, reflect our culture, or allow for expressing our individuality, none of these theories accurately reflects the reason we wear clothes…” (Designing a Lifestyle that Pleases God, pg. 224)

The reason we wear clothing is found in Genesis 3.  Verse 10 says, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”  Before Adam and Eve sinned, there was no clothing.  There was no need for it.  Adam and Eve lived in innocence.  They only became aware of their nakedness and tried to cover it, after they disobeyed God. Dr. Lisa Tatlock notes that,

“Clothing was first designed as a result of sin.  Adam and eve attempted to hide their sinful shame by physically covering their bodies.” (DLPG, pg. 224)

When sin entered the picture, their innocence was lost.  From this point on, with the exception of the context of marriage, whenever nakedness is mentioned in the Bible, it is always associated with shame.  The very fact that we wear, and need clothing is a direct result of the guilt and shame caused by our sin.  Think about that for a moment.  If what we wear is a direct result of our sin, then it should serve as a daily reminder of the fact that we are sinful, fallen creatures.  And, maybe, just maybe, if we thought of it in that way, we would be less likely to dress in a way that is, in and of itself, sinful?  Maybe.

“Adam and Eve’s primary concern was their nakedness; God’s primary concern was that they had disobeyed His word and that their relationship with Him had been broken.  They were concerned about their external appearance; God was concerned about their hearts….First, He dealt with them about the root of their sin and its consequences; He dealt with the broken relationship; He gave them the Gospel (Genesis 3:15) – the promise of a solution for their sin.  Then, God came back to the matter of their clothes.  With loving concern and grace, God dressed the first couple.” (The Look, pg. 12)

Not only is our clothing a reminder of our sin, but it is also a daily reminder of our desperate need for a Savior.  Adam and Eve’s attempt to cover themselves was not sufficient in God’s eyes – as are our attempts to deal with our sin on our own.  “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) 

It would be good to notice that God’s idea of clothing was very different from Adam and Eve’s.  In Genesis 3:10, it says that Adam and Eve made “loincloths.”  This word is also translated as a “belt” or “apron.”  Those are items that do not cover much.  Adam and Eve’s solution was to cover just “the essentials.”  But God…God had a different idea. In verse 21 of the same chapter, it tells us that God made them “garments.”  This word has also been translated as a “coat” or “tunic”.  It is an article of clothing that covered them from the neck to their knees.  God’s purpose for clothing was to cover the body. (The Look, pg. 13) 

So, we see that the need for modesty came about as a result of the Fall.  But, it is also necessary because “… just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…”  (Romans 5:12)

(To be continued…here)