I wonder how much time I waste deciding on an outfit. And then how much more time actually putting it on. Because let me tell you, it can be a morning-and-a-half project trying to snake my way into the sweater I should’ve gotten rid of year before last.
When my kids were younger, my sons came up with a brilliant plan to cut down on the getting-dressed time-waste. They proposed putting on seven shirts on Monday. Tuesday morning, peel off the outer Monday shirt. Hello, Tuesday shirt. They would save their favorite shirts for Sunday. The last layer. The deep one. They admitted they’d have to be careful not to spill on their shirt-shirt-shirts. At least not a seven-layer spill.
Just for fun, one of them decided to see how many he could get on. Interestingly, it was more than seven. I can’t remember how many layers deep we were when he couldn’t get another shirt on, but I do remember the reason he couldn’t was that he could no longer bend his arms.
I made him take them all off when he mentioned he couldn’t feel much from the armpits down and I noticed his fingers weren’t quite the right color. We had a good laugh though. He’d been a chubby-shirted sight to behold. We also had a good laugh imagining what that last layer might’ve been like by Sunday. The last-layer shirt that would’ve been stewing against those numb armpits all week. Beauty is only skin deep, sure, but a Sunday shirt semi-attached to armpits for six days? Probably deeper. But not a good kind of deeper. Ew.
Deep levels of grace
You know what gets under my skin in a different way?
The sadness of those who never get to the deep levels of the grace of the Gospel. There’s a reason Jesus followers pull out this passage often: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (1 Corinthians 5:17 CSB).
It’s almost reflexive to allow ourselves to think of our salvation as a clean shirt we’re wearing over all the others.
Like we’re wearing Jesus on the outside, covering all the “ew” beneath. But according to these verses, we’re not “ew.” We’re new. All the way through. Those old, icky layers have “passed away.” We’re told just a few verses later, “He [God] made the one who did not know sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (5:21 CSB).
It’s not about dressing ourselves — dressing up, dressing down, dressing out or all around. You’ve given your life to Jesus? You’re no longer wearing yesterday’s sin. You’re wearing His righteousness.
All week, every week
Paul tells us in Galatians 3:27, “For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ” (CSB). You’re immersed in Jesus’ righteousness — clothed in every way, Sunday to Sunday — all week, every week.
What a relief. Dirtied up your life? Spilled a lot? Your cleanness is based on Jesus, not you. His sacrifice completely covers — praise God — every layer.