Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:2-5

What is clothing for? Protection from the elements, sure but shelter is better for that. Dignity for oneself and decency before others are more top of mind; dress codes (except in dangerous places) are generally for social reasons rather than practical ones. We all have a certain level of undress taught by our peers and society which we know is “too little”.

Biblically speaking, clothing shows up significantly alongside the first sin. Adam and Eve clothe themselves and hide from God. They suddenly, having known their shame through consuming the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, feel the need to be covered. But what did God do after handing them down their punishment? Did he strip them naked again? No, they now knew shame and could not return to innocence. Did he teach them to fashion garments? No, they already knew how to cover themselves.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

He made them better clothes, for which they had no skill, and made them a gift for the couple, clothing them. He granted them a greater amount of dignity than they could get themselves. Fig leaves are tender and flexible but fragile and shriveling from the moment they are picked. Skins are durable, pliable and resistant to wear but require tools, skills and knowledge to prepare and fashion.

God likewise in Christ is preparing to cover over this current form with its knowledge of good and evil. He is fashioning for us a better garment and clothing us himself.

Ethan Kirl

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1 Comment

  1. Paula Kirl

    Always such a unique insight into a familiar passage.

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