Hiding our bodies prompts temptation. Revealing them shines the light.
Even though God had made a covenant in the flesh with Abraham through circumcision, He had a better idea in mind. The outward cutting was designed to be a representation of inward healing, a circumcision of the heart.
God was looking for a people whose hearts were turned to Him! Moses told us:
The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.Deuteronomy 30:6
And the Apostle Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans that when Abraham
…received the sign of circumcision, it was a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe – without being circumcised – so that righteousness would be counted to them as well.Romans 4:11
As humans, we often get addicted to cultural expectations, and early believers were not immune. First century Christians hotly debated as to whether new converts must be outwardly circumcised in order to be truly saved.
Sometimes the debates got personal: Paul, in an apparent sarcastic remark, told those Judaizing legalists that if they were that concerned about circumcision, they should simply go all the way and castrate themselves!
Some Things Change,
Some Things Stay the Same
We might understand his frustration.
Legalists, then and now, preoccupy themselves with trying to bring perfection through performance. They fail to go into the deeper imperative of having a circumcised, broken heart before God: depending upon Him alone for our holiness.
An expert author on fashion, past and present, James Laver, determined that:
The primary reason for wearing clothes is not modesty, but its opposite, self-aggrandizement.”
Surprisingly, he went on to say that:
“If complete nudity were common, we should probably become seasonal in our impulses [to wear it].
Laver concluded that our worldwide “permanent eroticism is kept alive by clothes.” 1
Jesus Takes Us Back to the Garden
Christian naturists defy that permanent eroticism by living out a life of whole spirit / whole body unity.
We are grateful to God for how He created us, and do not hide ourselves before Him.
We know that the unregenerate heart is evil, and that no legalistic prohibition, such as a taboo on nudism, is going to keep people from fully wallowing in sin.
Ultimately, in the early church it was decided that Jesus Himself fulfilled the requirement of circumcision. Paul concluded to the Church at Colossae:
In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh. By the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith…. Having forgiven us all our trespasses, Christ has canceled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.Colossians 2:11
Lest we forget, God is not ashamed of our nakedness. Hebrews 4:13 reminds us that:
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”