Biblical Modesty In A Modern World (pt. 4)

The Need For Modesty

1.  The Fall, Genesis 3

2. The Similarities – Sin:
This may seem a bit redundant, because we just looked at the Fall.  But, the consequences, and the impact of sin did not end there. 

As Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned.”  Sin is not a problem that is exclusive to one gender.  It is also not limited to a specific age range.  We were all impacted by the Fall – therefore we are all susceptible to the consequences.  Although, as believers, we have been forgiven, we are all still capable of sinning.

James 1:14-15 “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (NASB)

The struggle with, and temptation to sin is something that men and women have in common.  Unfortunately, it is also something that believers have in common with unbelievers:

“Surveys indicate that the sexual morality of today’s Christians has become almost indistinguishable from that of non-Christians.  It is often impossible to discern where the world ends and the church begins.  Our failure to follow the teachings of Scripture in this area undermines our ability to accomplish what God has called us to.  Why?  Because if we are just like the world, we have nothing to offer it.  An unholy world will never be won to Christ by an unholy church.” (The Purity Principle, pg. 24)

I believe that Christian girls, and women, who dress and act immodestly, do so for one of two reasons, the first being that they are ignorant, or naïve.  They simply just do not know any better.  But, I know that this is not always the case. 

I think many Christians do know better.  I am not making excuses for their sinful behavior – but I think it is necessary to point out that many of these girls dress and act inappropriately because they see what the guys (and men) around them respond to…this includes the good, Christian guys!  Again, I am not making excuses, but girls see what attracts attention, and they want to be noticed.  Now, there is nothing wrong with being attractive (we’ll deal with this more later).  But, there is a difference between being attractive, and dressing to attract.  The problem starts in the heart, when, in sinful selfishness, pride, and vanity, women compromise what they know to be biblically acceptable standards of dress and behavior, and, instead adopt those immodest attitudes, behaviors, and styles that our culture (the world) has told them will get them the desired attention. 

But, Scripture tells us that we are to be different than the world.  Romans 12:1-2  “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)  We are to act, think, speak, and – yes - dress differently.

  • The world tells us that beauty is external, and physical.  God’s Word tells us that true beauty comes from “the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”  (1 Peter 3:4, ESV) 
  • The world tells us to dress in a way that attracts attention, or highlights our beauty, skin, or body.  Scripture says that we are to dress in “in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control… with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, ESV) 
  • The world says what you wear is external, it does not reflect who you really are.  The Bible says “for each tree is known by its own fruit…The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”. (Luke 6:44-45)

Our culture, and therefore many of the current trends in behavior and fashion, is in complete opposition to biblical standards.  Immodesty is everywhere…malls, schools, parks, Starbucks.  And, I expect to see it there.  I cannot control what unbelievers choose to wear, and how they choose to act – and I am not addressing unbelievers.  They operate under a completely different standard and authority (or lack thereof).  

As believers, the Bible, God’s holy, inerrant, infallible Word, is our Authority.  It is clear when it tells us that we should look and act differently than the world.  Modesty, in our speech, dress, and behavior is a source of protection against falling prey to contrary worldly philosophies…and ending up in sin as a result. But, as Randy Alcorn said (above), “It is often impossible to discern where the world ends and the church begins.”  Immodesty is running rampant in the church.  And, that just should not be the case.

James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (ESV) 

Men and women, regardless of age or culture, are similar in that we are all sinners.  None of us are above being tempted.  But, even so, we must also recognize that the source of those temptations are different, simply because men and women are different. 

(To be continued…here)