On Sunday I began our “Basics” sermon series with answering the question, “What is the Bible?” How you answer this question has a big impact on how we apply that which is written in it. It is important for us as followers of Jesus to understand the authority of Scripture as God’s Word to man. We do not have the right to pick and choose what we want to accept. It isthe authority and therefore we must submit to all of it.
There has been a lot of debate on social media over the last few days concerning a letter written by a youth pastor who apologized to his youth for requiring them to wear modest swimsuits. There are a lot of problems that have surfaced from the fallout of this letter, but I believe that it all goes back to how highly we esteem the Bible. I believe that the Bible is the authority and therefore I think it answers the discussion of modesty very clearly.
Here are some of the questions that arise from the letter: Is it body shaming to expect ladies to dress modest? Does expecting women to dress modest take away from the responsibility of men to not lust? Do men ever have the right to tell women how they should dress?
As I mentioned, this debate is clear if we hold a high authority to Scripture. The Bible addresses this issue very clearly. Society may not like it but who do we submit to? Modesty is a spiritual issue. Women are to dress modestly. Men are not to look at women and lust. Men are the spiritual leaders of the home and church and therefore have the responsibility to address spiritual issues.
Here are some Scriptures that I believe make this issue easy if we hold to authority of Scripture.
· 1 Timothy 2:9-10 women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
· 1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but lett your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
· Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
· Matthew 5:27-30 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
· 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but thesexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
· Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
· Luke 17:1-4 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom theycome! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
· Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
· 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you who areyounger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”