Public nakedness has been a sin since the Garden of Eden. That Satan has always tempted man to take his clothing off should be no surprise. Two of his avenues of temptation are served by immodest dress: lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes (1 John 2:15). Sexual sin does not begin in the bedroom, but in the boardroom. It starts with the eyes and ends in the flesh. God has always encouraged man to put on clothing. Lest we forget, it was God who became the first tailor and “made coats of skins, and clothed” Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). There is an interesting account in Matthew, Mark and Luke that seems to validate our proposition regarding clothing.
The following is from Luke 8:26-36:
And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
Why did the Holy Spirit direct Luke to include a description of the demonic man’s attire or lack thereof? Following this narrative, Luke mentions Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, and his daughter, but the Holy Spirit says nothing about their attire (Luke 8:41-42). In the previous passages, we are introduced to Mary called Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Chuzza (Herod’s steward) and Susanna, and nothing is said about their clothing (Luke 8:2-3). Believing every word is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16) and that each word is used for a divine purpose, could we assume that the description of the demonic man’s attire show a connection between a man’s sanity and how he dresses?
There are two clear points about this account. First, when the man was possessed by Legion, he wore no clothes. Second, when Jesus suffered the demons to leave the man, he was clothed. Moreover, Luke adds, “and in his right mind….” Can we therefore conclude that the lack of clothing indicates a Satanic influence and sufficient clothing represents a godly influence? Our text seems to indicate strongly a connection between sin and insanity and the Savior and sanity. In Mark’s account, the Bible says, “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid” (Mark 5:15). When he was with Jesus, he was clothed. When he was with Satan, he was naked.
Regarding the nakedness of the demonic man, John Phillips wrote, “His nakedness was the badge of his condition, beyond all shame.” When people—sadly some Christians—walk around naked, is it not a reflection of their condition? Godly people do not want to be a stumbling block to others (Luke 17:1-3). They do not want to conform to the world (Rom. 12:2). They do not want to be a friend of the world (James 4:4). They want to be modest and profess godliness in what they wear (1 Tim. 2:9-10). Modest clothing is a badge of godliness. Nakedness is a badge of ungodliness.
When Peter saw the Lord, “he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea” (John 21:7). Peter was a spiritual man, who was in his right mind. He knew that even if he was going to approach the Lord on the beach of Tiberias, he needed to put on sufficient clothing. No matter where we go, what we do or who is watching, our clothing is a reflection of our Christianity. As we select our daily clothing, may we remember that we are also advertising our state of mind.