I have been given a coat recently. It was a very kind present. A gift. It protects me from the elements: the wind and rain and keeps me warm. It also looks pretty good. It’s even got a proper label I think.
The gospel is like a coat. Or more specifically the gift of Jesus to us is. His righteousness covers our sin and keeps us safe from the storm of God wrath. But the thing that struck me recently was the warmth of the coat. I feel warm right through. For so long I felt cold and now I can put it on and feel warm. The gospel, Jesus’ righteousness, warms our soul. As others disapproval rains down on us, as Satan’s accusations buffet us, as sin’s deceitfulness tries to chill our soul, we are not just kept safe but warmed inside. God’s love and acceptance of us permeate every part of us. Such a comfort.
There is lots about clothes in the bible. Adam and Eve didn’t need any at first, but when they disobeyed God they became aware of their nakedness and for the first time felt shame about who they were. And rightly so. Their solution was to make clothes out of leaves.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. “they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” Gen 3:7
God made some better clothes for them:
And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.Gen 3:31
The consequences of the fall are bookend-ed by the making of clothes. The bible therefore can be seen as the story of God providing us with clothes to cover our shame (in contrast to our failed attempts at covering ourselves with stuff – or not, as the case my be).
Most people have heard of Joseph’s multi-coloured coat, given to him by his Father. He is the favoured son and so his Father gives him a really special coat.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. Gen 37:3
It’s picking up this theme of God richly clothing us out of his gracious love for us. Like the Father in Jesus parable about the prodigal son:
But the father said to his servants,[d]‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Luke 15:22
But it is also pointing us, like every passage in the bible, to Jesus, the special favoured son. After Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery, they dipped his robe in blood and gave it back to his father tricking him into thinking that he had been attacked and killed by wild animals. It reminds me of the way Jesus was stripped, beaten, then clothed with a mock royal robe, then finally stripped again before being nailed to a cross. The soldiers cast lots for his tunic. The irony is massive. Jesus came to cloth us with his righteousness and the people crucifying him gamble to see who gets his coat.
In his letters Paul exhorts his readers to take of their old self and put on their new self. Just like we need to put on material clothes, we need to put on out spiritual clothes which are the righteousness of Jesus. It will be good to be in a warm coat this winter. Its even better to be in Christ forever.