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Question: 
Is it wrong or sinful for a Christian to wear jewelry and makeup? How would you explain the verses that pertain to this?
 
Answer: 

The overriding theme and tenor of the scripture in the New Testament teaches holy living and purity before God. The life of a true Christian is a walk of humility in spirit and in deed. There are so many scriptures that support this, that I donít believe there is a need to enumerate them. Humility and holiness serve as the foundation of any discussion on subjects such as this.

Cosmetics and jewelry are nothing new. They have been used and abused long before the coming of Christ. Of interest may be the following scriptures that speak in disparaging terms of these things: Jeremiah (4:30); Ezekiel (23:40); Isaiah 3:16-24.

The following New Testament scriptures deal in part with the subject of outward adornment:

1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1Pe 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
1Pe 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1Pe 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
1Pe 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

The scriptures above teach that all adornment should be modest--or orderly and of good behavior. It is important to note that true modesty and holiness are conditions of heart and spirit. Just because someone looks holy, does not change the inward man. But, when the inside is clean and pure, the resulting fruit should be that of holiness and modesty.

Broiding and plaiting of the hair refers not to simply braiding the hair, but to hair that was crisped, curled and fixed fancily. It was common for women of the time to weave silver wire, thin plates of gold and colored ribbons into their hair. They also placed pearls and precious stones in the hair as ornamentation.

Broided hair, gold, pearls, and costly array are just some specific things Paul mentions that are not becoming to a women who professes godliness. The wearing of jewelry and makeup very easily fall into this category. It is important to consider the spirit and motivation behind wearing jewelry and using cosmetics.

Modest dress and apparel is that which is neither excessive nor extravagant and in keeping with humility and decency. A woman is to dress and conduct herself in a way that is restrained by propriety and not forward or bold. Shamefacedness is something that we donít observe very much among the women of our world today. Nevertheless, it is a Bible doctrine. Jewelry and makeup do not reflect shamefacedness.

Jewelry and cosmetics are unnecessary items that are used for the purpose of Ďfixing-up.í Jewelry draws attention to the person wearing it. These things are contrary to the spirit of simplicity, modesty, shamefacedness, and holiness. When one honestly examines the motivations behind bedecking herself with these things, the honest heart will have to acknowledge that there are issues involved that are at variance with the scripture. The world has placed much emphasis on the outward appearance, while God places value on the inward beauty of the heart.

There is a natural desire that most women have to look nice and be attractive. Saints of God should not be sloppy or unkempt, but neither should they adorn themselves with the prideful things of this world. There are women who struggle with this subject and feel like they want to wear jewelry or makeup not out of pride, but out of a sense of self-respect. We must realize that this inward struggle, while very real, comes because of the pressure and standards of the world. We must not judge truth and godliness based on our feelings, but on the Word of God.

The outward man reflects and exhibits to the world what spirit we are of. Hence, Paul and Peter addressed a few specific items. There are some things that the Bible does not spell out. Our living is not just by the letter, but also by the spirit of the Word. As every Christian should desire to have the humility of Christ, so the outward man should reflect and exhibit that spirit to the world.

For these reasons, Christians have laid aside jewelry and makeup. I am sure that there are people that donít have light and understanding of this truth, and they will be judged accordingly. However, when someone is exposed to the truth and refuses to accept it because of fleshly desire, that then becomes sin. Many professing religious people have rationalized themselves out of this Bible doctrine, and they will be held accountable for it on the day of judgment. In truth, when someone does this, there are deeper spiritual issues at work such as pride and other works of the flesh.

The emphasis of Godís people should always be on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. While we seek to have the Spirit of Christ, let us not fall prey to the love of the world in outward ornamentation. There is great peace and joy in observing those things upon which God has placed His approval. Godly women that have laid aside the things of the world need never feel like second-class citizens. True beauty is found in living a holy life.
 

-Bro. Michael Smith (12/8/06)

 
 

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