1. LIVING WITH HUMANITY
a. Describe the relationship God seeks with humanity both now and through eternity. Exodus 25:8; Revelation 21:1–3.
b. Because He wants a personal relationship, is it possible to be in friendship with those opposed to His principles—and where are the specific differences? Matthew 6:24; James 4:4; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18.
“Christ’s followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise.”— Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 441.
c. Explain our duty toward people of the world. John 17:15, 16; Matthew 5:16.
“The Lord would have His people in the world, but not of the world. They should seek to bring the truth before the men in high places, and give them a fair chance to receive and weigh evidence. There are many who are unenlightened and uninformed, and as individuals we have a serious, solemn, wise work to do. We are to have travail of soul for those who are in high places, and go to them with the gracious invitation to come to the marriage feast. Very much more might have been done than has been done for those in high places.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 198.
2. A GARMENT OF LIGHT
a. Why do we examine the beginning of the world to see God’s ideal and the kind of clothing our first parents wore? Genesis 1:27, 31; Psalm 104:1, 2.
“Before the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve in Eden were surrounded with a clear and beautiful light, the light of God. This light illuminated everything which they approached. There was nothing to obscure their perception of the character or the works of God. But when they yielded to the tempter, the light departed from them. In losing the garments of holiness, they lost the light that had illuminated nature. No longer could they read it aright.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 461, 462.
“Before his fall Adam was free from the results of the curse. When he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He was created perfect in thought and in action. But he yielded to sin, and fell from his high and holy estate.”— Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 141.
b. What change happened as soon as sin entered and what does it symbolize? Genesis 2:25; 3:7 (first part); Revelation 3:17.
“The covering of light about [our first parents] soon disappeared, and under a sense of guilt, and loss of their divine covering, a shivering seized them, and they tried to cover their exposed forms.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 40.
“After the transgression of Adam and Eve they were naked, for the garment of light and security had departed from them.”—Last Day Events, p. 249.
“In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature. Sin defaced and almost obliterated the divine image; but Christ came to restore that which had been lost. He will change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto His glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will ‘grow up’ (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ’s faithful ones will appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God,’ in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. Oh, wonderful redemption! long talked of, long hoped for, contemplated with eager anticipation, but never fully understood.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 644, 645.
a. How did Adam and Eve present themselves in their self-righteousness before God, as expressed in their clothing? Genesis 3:7–11.
“After his transgression Adam at first imagined himself entering upon a higher state of existence. But soon the thought of his sin filled him with terror. The air, which had hitherto been of a mild and uniform temperature, seemed to chill the guilty pair. The love and peace which had been theirs was gone, and in its place they felt a sense of sin, a dread of the future, a nakedness of soul. The robe of light which had enshrouded them, now disappeared, and to supply its place they endeavored to fashion for themselves a covering; for they could not, while unclothed, meet the eye of God and holy angels.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 57.
“A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire. Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.”—Education, p. 248.
b. Why is it better to come to God even in a sinful condition rather than not at all? Isaiah 1:18.
“Come, my brother, come just as you are, sinful and polluted. Lay your burden of guilt on Jesus, and by faith claim His merits. Come now, while mercy lingers; come with confession, come with contrition of soul, and God will abundantly pardon. Do not dare to slight another opportunity. Listen to the voice of mercy that now pleads with you to arise from the dead that Christ may give you light. Every moment now seems to connect itself directly with the destinies of the unseen world. Then let not your pride and unbelief lead you to still further reject offered mercy. If you do you will be left to lament at the last: ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’ ”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 353.
“The long night of watching, of toil and hardship, is nearly past. Christ is soon to come. Get ready. The angels of God are seeking to attract you from yourself and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain. Faith, living faith, is what you need; faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Remember Calvary and the awful, the infinite sacrifice there made for man. Jesus now invites you to come to Him just as you are and make Him your strength and everlasting Friend.”—Ibid., vol. 3, p. 251.
4. A SYMBOL OF SALVATION
a. Whom does the serpent represent in the work of deception and how are we enslaved to him? Revelation 12:9.
b. Explain the first sermon on the plan of redemption and why blood was shed. Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 9:22; John 1:29; Romans 5:15, 16.
“In the statement, ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,’ God pledged Himself to introduce into the hearts of human beings a new principle—a hatred of sin, of deception, of pretense, of everything that bears the marks of Satan’s guile.”—Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 6.
“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Romans 16:25, R.V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 22.
c. What does the new clothing symbolize and how does our clothing show what is happening in the heart? Genesis 3:21.
“The very ones that profess to be washed by the blood of Jesus, spilled for them, can dress up and decorate their poor, mortal bodies, and dare profess to be followers of the holy, self-denying, humble Pattern. Oh, that all could see this as God sees it and showed it to me! It seemed too much for me to bear, to feel the anguish of soul that I felt as I beheld it. Said the angel: ‘God’s people are peculiar; such He is purifying unto Himself.’ I saw that the outside appearance is an index to the heart. When the exterior is hung with ribbons, collars, and needless things, it plainly shows that the love for all this is in the heart; unless such persons are cleansed from their corruption, they can never see God, for only the pure in heart will see Him.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 135.
a. Even when people of the world were typically dressing more modestly than now, why did God have a special dress for His people? Numbers 15:37–41.
“God expressly commanded a very simple arrangement of dress for the children of Israel for the purpose of distinguishing them from the idolatrous nations around them. As they looked upon their peculiarity of dress, they were to remember that they were God’s commandment keeping people, and that He had wrought in a miraculous manner to bring them from Egyptian bondage to serve Him, to be a holy people unto Him. They were not to serve their own desires, or to imitate the idolatrous nations around them, but to remain a distinct, separate people, that all who looked upon them might say: These are they whom God brought out of the land of Egypt, who keep the law of Ten Commandments. An Israelite was known to be such as soon as seen, for God through simple means distinguished him as His.”— Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 524.
b. What should we realize about reformation in dress? 2 Corinthians 3:2.
“Much unhappy feeling was created by those who were constantly urging the reform dress upon their sisters. With extremists, this reform seemed to constitute the sum and substance of their religion. It was the theme of conversation and the burden of their hearts; and their minds were thus diverted from God and the truth. They failed to cherish the spirit of Christ and manifested a great lack of true courtesy. Instead of prizing the dress for its real advantages, they seemed to be proud of its singularity. Perhaps no question has ever come up among us which has caused such development of character as has the dress reform.”—Ibid., vol. 4, p. 636.
“Pride and extravagance in dress are sins to which woman is especially prone; hence these injunctions relate directly to her.”—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 94.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What kind of relationship does God want to have with humanity?
2. Why did the garment of light disappear?
3. Should we come to God even if we feel we are not ready? Why or why not?
4. How does conversion affect the way we dress?
5. How does our clothing show who we are?