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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Accessories To Adultery

Christians have long connected immodest clothing to sexual immorality.

Amazingly, that is challenged today. The person who points out the link between immorality and revealing clothing is sometimes thought to be expressing only his or her own personal weakness regarding sexual temptations.

The wearer of skimpy clothing (and the skimpy clothing itself) is not perceived to be the problem; rather, the problem allegedly rests with the person who protests the skimpy clothing.

This is the same argument that militant feminists have long made, an argument we now hear Christians making: women should be free to wear whatever they want and any resulting problems are due to vulgar men.

This silences appeals for modest clothing: he who makes such appeals is deemed to be shifting the blame for his own lust.

Thanks to socially acceptable immodesty, the person who challenges immodesty is accused of having a dirty mind.

But the old confessions and catechisms expose the emptiness of this contention.

Long before bikinis, Speedos, short shorts, and strapless dresses, Christians realized the essential connection between sexual immorality and immodest clothing.

Their comprehensive application of God’s Word regarding sexual purity and their serious pursuit of holiness led them to denounce immodest clothing.

The modern claim that no clothing is out-of-bounds for a Christian would have bewildered our spiritual forefathers…

This article is an appeal to obey the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exo 20:14).

[It] requires the preservation of both our own and our neighbor’s sexual purity, a purity that should be displayed in our hearts as well as our behavior.

Negatively, the commandment forbids unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.

We violate it if our clothing expresses our own sexual lusts, promotes sexual immorality either in ourselves or in others, tacitly (if perhaps unintentionally) sanctions unchastity and lusting, or tempts others to indulge in sexual sins.

Are you an accessory to adultery?

Our legal system rightly recognizes that both murderers and accessories to murder are lawbreakers.

Similarly, both adulterers and accessories to adultery are guilty of breaking God’s Law.

If we wear clothing that encourages lust in someone else, then we are an accessory to lust.

That makes us accessories to sin regardless of our intentions.

The Christian cannot say, “I’m not trying to be sexually provocative with my clothing. I have no immoral motives. Therefore, my clothing is modest.”

I will go further. As a husband and father, I am the head of my household. When I allow my family members to wear clothing that contributes to someone else’s heart-level adultery, I am guilty of promoting sin.

This is one reason why both men and women must dress modestly.

Men can promote lust in women just as women can promote sexually immoral thoughts in men.

God’s Word speaks clearly to the issue of becoming an accessory to sin.

The Bible uses the phrase stumbling block [or offenses] where we usually use the word accessory.

What is a stumbling block? It is something that entices someone to sin.

In Matthew 18:7-9, Jesus said, “Woe unto the world because of offenses [stumbling blocks]! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!

Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire”…

In this passage, Jesus is primarily concerned that we examine ourselves and eliminate stumbling blocks that tempt us to sin.

But we can also create hindrances and obstacles for other people and woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

This concept applies to much more than clothing, but it certainly includes clothing.

Notice the extreme metaphors in this passage: Amputate your hand. Cut off your foot. Gouge out your eye.

Of course, Jesus is not sanctioning self-mutilation. He is using figurative language to make a point: take drastic action to avoid hurting yourself or others spiritually.

Do radical things to make sure obstacles do not hinder your pursuit of the Kingdom of God…Dressing modestly is a relatively small price.

I am stunned when I hear a Christian say, “If my clothing causes Greg to lust, that’s his problem.”

That attitude is simply unbiblical.

It is the same as saying, “I am not responsible for the moral stumbling blocks that I create with my clothing."

To be sure, Greg’s lust is his problem and is primarily his problem. But if your clothing makes you an accessory to lust-a stumbling block-then the Word of GOD says it has become your problem also.

The LORD Jesus Christ Himself pronounces condemnation upon those people who encourage others to sin: woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

1 Timothy 2:9 and Matthew 18:7-9: “A woman characterized by this attitude [that is, modesty] will dress so as not to be the source of any temptation…

A godly woman hates sin so much that she would avoid anything that would engender sin in anyone.

Better to be dead than lead another believer into sin!”

Why do some Christians dress so as to make themselves “lusting events”?

Often it is due to innocent ignorance. Many believers simply do not realize that other Christians are easily tempted to sin by immodest clothing.

This is especially true for Christian women: they often do not understand that many Christian men experience great anguish of soul as they fight with sexual temptation.

Without intending to, they wear clothing that is a stumbling block.

Be mindful that Christian men are saints, not angels! Sisters, please love your brothers enough to avoid tempting them to sin.

In other cases, however, the problem is not innocent ignorance; rath-er, it is unwillingness to honor GOD and love our neighbors with our clothing.

The Bible declares that the Christian’s body belongs to God, both by creation and by redemption (1Co 6:19-20).

Every square inch of a Christian’s life is to be lived under Christ’s Lordship and for GOD’s glory and this includes the Christian’s apparel. 

“I can dress any way I want to” is simply not something a Christian can say.

Please hear your LORD when He says that drastic action must be taken to minimize temptations and stumbling blocks. This is a command, not a suggestion. (See 1Co 8:9; 10:31-33.)

Dressing modestly is simply one result of a GODLY and unselfish concern for others’ well-being.

~Robert G. Spinney~

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