30. Clean, clothed and crowned.

A new beginning. What a precious thought. Something new is such a thrill. Everything old, bad and destroyed is overcome by something new. It brings excitement, expectation and that special something that calls for celebration, either a big like a life event or small, like opening a package.

We see destruction and decay every day. The overwhelming devastation of war and forces of nature is presented on the evening news in high resolution. Lives are changed in an instant. The ruin must be rebuilt, slowly and painfully with all the loss and heartache built in.

The Holy Spirit makes new in one miraculous, supernatural moment called rebirth. Being born again is heaven’s response to an earthly decision.

2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].

God makes everything new. He creates the expectation, makes the promise and never ever disappoints. After our bath, that realization of sin and a sense of unworthiness and uncleanness, we are clothed and crowned – rightly covered for every occasion.

Revelation 21:5:

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

This is not a promise for the end of time. Scripture is full of the renewing characteristic of God, promising restoration and a new beginning. A sharper sense of sin is the core of the message to the church in Sardis. They had the image of life, but were found dead inside.

Revelation 3:3:

So remember and take to heart the lessons you have received and heard. Keep and obey them, and repent [change your sinful way of thinking, and demonstrate your repentance with new behavior that proves a conscious decision to turn away from sin].

God always invites us to renewal. Life in Him is a new beginning. He does not blame, He forgives – today. The invitation stands through so many centuries. The Message on Isaiah 1:18:

“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message:

“If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white.

If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.

If you’ll willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings

Ezekiel 11:19:

And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch],

Only the Holy Spirit can lift us out of the gutters and sewage of our broken lives and bring us to a place to feast like kings. Psychologists and psychiatrists help us identify the truth and treat us physically and chemically, but God’s touch redeems us from the stain of sin and heals our inner woundedness and pain.

Lamentations 3:22,23:

It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,

Because His [tender] compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.

 This is a reason to sing!

Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;

A new life, created deep in the spirit of a person, is visible outside. It is a life that bears fruit. In the words of John the Baptist:

Matthew 3:8:

Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart];

 Baptism is the symbol of dying with Christ and rise into a new life in Him. Romans 6:4: ESV

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Confirmed in 1 Peter 3:21:

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

What a magnificent privilege to be able to walk in the principles of repentance and baptism. We are celebrating the new covenant and certainty of salvation, the eternal inheritance – priceless.

Hebrews 9:15:

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

But that is not all. We get new clothes. All of humanity is obsessed with clothes ever since the Fall. Sin revealed nakedness and forever more man covered himself. Just think what percentage of any given shopping centre is devoted to clothing shops. New clothes are wonderful. Season by season talented designers create new styles to be desired and celebrated on the catwalks around the world.

Jesus was aware of this fixation on covering. He commanded us not to worry about it. Matthew 6:28,29:

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Well the lilies of the field are quite a standard of beauty and I would like to have assurance that I look like them every day. But then, there is the invisible Spirit-clothing that we wear, so much more precious.

Galatians 3:27:

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ [that is, you have taken on His characteristics and values].

Go boldly forth and ask for Gideon’s clothes. Judges 6:34:

So the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon [and empowered him]…

Holy Spirit covering – always the best, always right for the occasion. Fearless and strong against evil, compassionate for days of pain and loss, encouragement in times of doubt and fear, firm against sin, wise words and sensible actions in times of need. Soft

Matthew 9:17:

Nor is new wine put into old wineskins [that have lost their elasticity]; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the [fermenting] wine spills and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, so both are preserved.”

Old wineskins dried up and lost their flexibility. The new wine, still fermenting and stretching the skin, will spill and be lost. We do not need to force our new Spirit-life into the confine of limiting theology and doctrine made of men. We are clothed with Christ and the Word of God will stretch and mature us according to His teaching. Only then could we respond in harmony with His new Law. John 13:34:

I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.

You can have new clothes also when you are depressed and discouraged. According to Isaiah 61 there is a whole new wardrobe for you. Praise God.

Isaiah 61:10:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;

    my soul shall exult in my God,

for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;

    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,

    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

The Message puts it in modern language:

 He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,

    he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo

    and a bride a jeweled tiara.

God dresses you in the best of the best. Luxurious extravagance! He is the ultimate Designer.

Ezekiel 16:10:

 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.  And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.

The clothes of a king, the nobility, the highest of society – see it with an enlightened eye of faith and thanksgiving.

Your clothes will proclaim you spiritual authority in the unseen world. Love and grace will clothe you to rule with God’s favour on you and everybody around you.

Daniel 5:29:

Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation concerning him was issued [declaring] that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.

Go shopping Pebble pals. Revelation 3:18 is the shop where God is waiting for you.

 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

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