Beauty of Christ ... 3

The cloak of glory

The outermost garment of the Palestinian male was the cloak. It was worn to protect him from the sun during the day, or wrapped around him for warmth as a blanket at night. Cloaks were made from a variety of materials, such as linen, silk  wool and even animal skins. The richer the man, the more elaborate the cloak. As a revered teacher, Jesus deserved to wear a cloak that would represent His status. Jesus wore a cloak of good quality before He was crucified. It was woven without a seam which was unusual. It was of such good quality that the soldiers gambled for it rather than tearing it up for division. (John 19:24-25) It also had the prescribed tassels on the corners and fringe on the bottom. The woman with the issue of blood was healed by touching the fringe of Jesus' cloak. (Matthew 9:20-22)
Before He was crucified, the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of His own garments, and put on Him a "georgeos" robe, (Luke 23:11) probably to mock Him as the "King" of the Jews. They did not understand that His real Kingdom was far greater than anything on Earth. But believers know better than to look down on Him like His tormentors did, for His Kingdom is not of earth, (John 18:36) but an exceedingly superior one. Followers of Jesus would prefer not to inherit an inferior "georgeous" robe of earthly material, but rather a garment of righteousness, (Job 24:19) a garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10) a robe that is washed white in the blood of the lamb. (Revelation 7:14) Praise be to God, that such a glorious robe is given as an inheritance through faith.
One of the most significant events related in the Gospels is the Transfiguration of Jesus. He took Peter, James and John, up on a high mountain, where "He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun and his garments became white as light." (Matthew 17:2 NIV) Matthew tells the readers that they heard God speak, saying "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him." (Matthew 17:5 NIV) Such an incredible sight and supernatural experience must have filled the disciples with fear and awe.
Thinking about this event reminds us of other verses, like those in the Psalms, which praise God, saying "He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent." (Psalm 104:2 NIV) The transfiguration may well have been a preview for the disciples of how the glory of Jesus will be shown to us all when we finally meet Him in Heaven and His magnificent divine nature is revealed as the most brilliant One in the Kingdom of Light.
We are left a bit perplexed, for if light aids vision in the natural world, how is it that the Kingdom of Light is unable to be seen. If it is not physical Light, it must be a special type of Light, in the same way that holiness is an invisible spiritual attribute. The world can not properly understand the glory of holiness, but we should. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV) God’s glory would certainly include the beauty of holiness, which can set us apart from the world and be the major influence of our outward behaviors. Colossians 1:12 says that God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the Kingdom of Light. Therefore, since we are fully clothed with Christ, we are to be completely holy. "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life." (1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV)
Jill's self talk
"I look not to be adorned in outward beauty, but in the holiness and endeavour that brings glory to God. God is the one who is my judge. If I am diligent He may even say - well done, your life of faith has been pleasing to watch."

Avoid ugliness by avoiding sinful urges

A person who doesn't learn to control his habits but persists with irresponsible and harmful behaviours is destined to wear the mandatory attire of the convicted felon. Society has little tolerance for the drunkard, the theif or the adulterer. Despite the clear warnings about such things, many people still end up being incarcerated for their acts of selfishness, foolishness or criminal intent, not to mention for their greed or anger in moments of stupidity. Somewhat more hidden, but equally unbecoming for the Christian, are the more subtle urges that could cause us to harbor feelings of envy, or revenge, or pride or lust. The New Testament makes it clear that behaviour in any such manner is totally inappropriate for God's people, and mentions many of the "bad looks" that are the ugly side of sin.
"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immortality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits or rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions and envy: drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." (Galatians 5:20-26 NIV)
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the Kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV) Also you will find similar in Ephesians 4:17-32)
Believers who choose to "clothe" themselves with the same qualities of benevolence as Jesus did, will one day receive a garment of light and immortality. "And just as we have been borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven." (1 Corinthians 15:49 NIV) Paul goes on to say "this perishable nature must put on the imperishable" and gives Christians the magnificent promise about the change going on inside of us, saying we "are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory". (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) Receiving the Holy Spirit is like a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance, and the cloak of glory is a component of this gift to us, that we receive as a replica of Christ's most glorious splendour, honor and majesty.
Jill's self talk
"I yearn to be cleansed of all the ugliness of sin, to be delivered from evil, and to be immune to the urges of the flesh. No more shall I let the feelings or urges of jealousy, rage, revenge, pride, envy, greed and lust, have any influence over me. I will crucify them daily, I will be set free of them, and I will embrace the very opposite of these things.

Concluding remarks

The Bible's descriptions of mankind are far from flattering. We are dead in our transgressions and sins. Out of our hearts flows evil thoughts. Even our righteousness is like filthy rags. It's really shocking to hear this, but it explains why there there is so much ugliness, corruption and depravity happening in the world. Who in their right mind would be satisfied to remain in such a wretched state, when there is a better alternative.
Those of us who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who mourn their own sinfulness, who yearn to be pure on the inside, have found the solution. There is a cure for the uncleanliness that Jesus said inhabits and flows out of the heart of man. A complete internal make-over and transformation is possible. A follower of Christ needs to be proud of God's unseen glory within, to be resplendent in God's gift of holiness, to repent of our wrongdoings, to excel in doing what's right, and be full of good works.
Jill's prayer
"Lord Jesus, I take claim of the attire that will set me apart as yours. I beseech thee God to transform me from the inside out, so that others will know me as a godly person; a person of genuine humility, of helpful service,  of compassion, mercy and caring, and of holiness and integrity. With a character like yours, I aim to walk with You in the glorious Kingdom of Light. "
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