Friday, November 18, 2016

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 43: Jackets and Rags

Key verse

”It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)


Note: For the object you can hold or wear a fancy winter jacket. A hat or gloves could work but a jacket is more impactful. Take it off as you get to the description of removing the jacket, hat, and gloves.

In the Bible there are verses that talk about us being covered by Christ righteousness. The key verse says that Jesus became our righteousness and our holiness. This is confusing language. What does it mean that Jesus is our righteousness? What is righteousness anyways? The Bible gives us answers to these questions. In John 3:16 the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory or standard. In other words, no one has lived according to God’s standard of goodness perfectly. We have all broken God’s law at some point. Next, Romans 3:10 says that our righteousness is as filthy rags. We have all broken God’s law and our own personal goodness or right-ness is stained by badness or unright-ness. The key verse says that Jesus offers us his own goodness in place of ours. Let’s imagine an example.

We are walking down a city street in the winter time and its just after dark. There is snow on the ground and a chilly wind stirring up the snow. We are wearing fancy, warm down jackets, stylish winter hats, gloves, boots and other warm clothes. We barely even notice the cold temperature or the wind. We almost completely forget that we are outside where its very cold after dark. As we come around the corner we see an astonishing sight.

There is a barrel with a fire inside on the street corner. Around it stands a couple of men with their hands outstretched. As we get closer we realize they are probably homeless. They are dirty, smelly, and have long, scraggly hair. We can see that they have lots of clothes on too. But we can see they are still cold and shivering slightly. When we reach them we see that one man is wearing a tattered and stained jean jacket. He is shuffling his feet and rubbing his hands together just to stay warm. We stop and look at them.

As we do so we think about our car which is just a few blocks further. We notice how warm we are in our down jackets and how cold these men are with inadequate clothes, especially the man with the jean jacket! We remember that winter has only just begun and the nights will keep getting colder. There is no way these men will survive the winter unless they get better winter clothes! But what can we do? We don’t have any money with us. Then an idea comes to me. I whisper it in your ear as the men look at us, confused.

We approach them and say, “Can we trade jackets with you?” We take off our warm, fancy jackets, hats, and gloves as they take off theirs. We wrap our jackets around their shoulders. We pick up their jackets and hats and put them on for the remainder of our walk.

1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us that Jesus became our righteousness, holiness and redemption. He took is own righteousness and gave it to us to wear, and took ours upon himself when he died for us. What a kind person Jesus is to do that for us!


Do you think you could do something like that—give your warm clothes to a homeless person?

How does it make you feel to know that Jesus gave us his own goodness and took our dirty, filthy goodness?

How would you describe righteousness in your own words?

Is it possible for us to ever take off the righteousness Jesus has given us after we have accepted it?

Written by David F. Garner