Modesty – It Matters: Nakedness
Posted by Pastor Szekely on May 6, 2008
I’d like to write three posts [counting this one 🙂 ] on the subject of MODESTY, and they can all be filed under the main title: “Modesty – It Matters”, or “What in the World do We Wear?”. Here it goes…
In many Independent Baptist Churches and with many Independent Baptist people, what we wear garners just as much, if not more attention and more energy than evangelizing the lost, praying for the Pastor and missionaries, or being discipled on why and how God wants us to give. What we wear, in many circles, has become the mark of spiritual maturity and the mark of personal separation.
Please don’t get me wrong: what we wear IS important, and I’m not trying to minimize the issue. It needs to be taught and preached in our homes and in our churches. But what is important about what we wear? Is it: What we actually wear, or why we actually wear what we wear?
What we wear cannot be more important than why we wear what we wear. For example: What a person may wear can be “right”, but that person may be wearing something “right” and won’t know why! Then whose conviction is it? Or, that person may wear something that’s “right”, but it may be worn “wrong”! I believe it’s more important to know why we wear what we wear…because if we know why, then we’ll know what to wear! IF WE KNOW WHY…THEN WE’LL KNOW WHAT…
Why do we wear clothing? First of all, we wear clothing to cover up our nakedness! After Adam disobeyed God in Genesis 3, Man and Woman both knew they were naked, and they went about to cover up themselves: 3:7-11, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”
Of course, man’s work at trying to cover up his own nakedness was truly insufficient, so God clothed them: 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
How does the Bible define nakedness? Yes, the Bible DOES define what it means to be nude, and we ought to follow the Bible’s definition and not go by how the world defines the term! Let’s look at just 3 passages of Scripture to understand the Bible-definition of nakedness:
#1: Isaiah 47:1-3, “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.”
Babylon had been considered like a delicate woman (vs1), but because of her wretchedness, she would be reduced to disgrace and would reap God’s vengeance!
This passage of Scripture is a similitude – Babylon is being represented as a woman…a woman who goes from honor to humiliation…so: What was part of the humiliation? Her nakedness!
How does God explain (in similitude) a way that a person is naked…in God’s eyes? Read again Vs2-3a, “Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen…” When the legs were bare to the point of the thighs being uncovered, her shame and nakedness were seen!
“Cover up your thighs or you’ll be naked?” Maybe not in the eyes of Man…but it “looks” that way in the Eyes of God!
#2: Exodus 28:40-43, “And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.”
God wanted the priests to wear breeches. Breeches were undergarments to conceal the private parts of the body. And the Bible says in this passage that the private parts of the body which were to be covered were “the loins even unto the thighs”! So we can say: “the [uncovered] loins even unto the thighs” would equal nakedness [see the underlined vs42 again].
#3: John 21:3-7, “Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.”
Naked in Scripture doesn’t always mean and what we think of as being ‘fully nude’. Before he jumped into the sea, Peter grabbed his fisher’s coat, but the Bible says that he was naked. Was he “fully nude” in front of the other fishermen? Not so. Undergarments and Tunics were worn during these times. So why then did Scripture call him naked? Maybe his thighs were uncovered; maybe his chest wasn’t covered. We do know that Peter took his fisher’s coat to cover up his nakedness to go unto the Lord. This could very well tell us that even our upper torsos ought to be covered to be modest!
We wear clothing to cover up our nakedness; and nakedness, or to be nude and immodest, Biblically-speaking, is to have our thighs and upper torsos uncovered. Remember, if our thighs and upper torsos become uncovered, our “private parts” may be revealed. Modesty protects our privacy. We definitely see the opposite today in this world with immodesty and a lack of the body’s privacy!
So if it is understood what God calls naked, and if it is also understood why we wear clothing [to cover up our nakedness], then the next question should be: How should we wear this clothing to cover up our nakedness? When we answer this question, then ultimately we’ll be able to answer, “What clothing should we wear to cover up our nakedness?” How should we wear this clothing to cover up our nakedness? The answer is modestly. This will be explained…
Next post: The Contrast between Modesty and Immodesty…stay tuned!