“Would Jesus wear jeans to church?” According to a local pastor quoted in this morning’s Journal-Sentinel, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” If the point being made is that outward appearances and social status don’t matter to Jesus, then I think all of us would agree. We have never had a dress code for church and on any given Sunday, there are a variety of clothing types and styles represented. None of us would ever want someone to stay away from hearing God’s Word because they were not wearing dress clothes. Everyone is welcome!
But sometimes it seems as though the Jesus and jeans question and the “Come as you are” invitation are used to defend the view that I can come to God on my terms. I’ll decide for myself what I want my relationship with Him to be. That is a spiritually dangerous lie. We have nothing with which to bargain with God. By nature we are dead in sin and deserving of hell. All our best efforts at good living are worthless, filthy rags when it comes to earning salvation. We’re not doing God a favor by coming to church. He doesn’t owe us a thing. He doesn’t need us, but we desperately need Him and His grace in Christ.
Incredibly, His mercies are new to us every morning. Each day we can open our eyes to the reality that God sent His Son to be holy in our place and to take our guilt upon Himself. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2).
What the Lord is most concerned with is not what we wear on the outside, but what’s on the inside. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:17). Whether in jeans and t-shirt or suit and tie, the Lord is pleased with the one who by faith is clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Then why even bother thinking about dressing up for church? It’s not a bad thing to do. Won’t humble awe and gratitude to the Lord in the heart be reflected in how we speak, act, and dress?
Tomorrow’s sermon text (Heb. 12:18-24) is an encouragement to live in the light of the gospel, not under the shadow of the law.
See you tomorrow,