Does an immodestly dressed woman forfeit her Christianity? No, not if she is young in the faith and does not know any better. However, if she is aware that the Scripture teaches, “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles,” (Rom 14:21) then what can we say about her Christianity?
A Christian needs two things to be saved: It’s not faith + works. The thief on the cross did not have any good works to show for himself. Further, it is not faith + baptism. Remember that thief on the cross?
So what are those two things?
Faith + Love*
There is no one who is saved by faith void of love, for faith in a God that laid his life down for you by consequence must produce love. If you do not have love, you do not have faith.
Here’s how we know. In John 6:27-29 Jesus is asked how we attain to eternal life. His response is telling:
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
“Wait a second!,” someone may point out. “It does not say love anywhere.”
Let’s interpret Scripture with Scripture, shall we? Elsewhere the Apostle John writes:
13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 John 3:13-24).
So, how do we KNOW that we are actually saved? We love the brethren. Indeed, Christianity is a religion in which we may have assurance that we are saved. “These things I have written to you…so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). If you do not love the brethren, then know this: you are surely damned and need a Savior.
“But I have a Savior, I have Christ!,” some may exclaim. Do you not remember the words of your supposed Savior? “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt 7:21).
To say we can be saved by having faith without any love is a lie straight from the pits of Hell. This is why Paul says, “if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:2). All the faith in the world cannot save you without love. Without love you are nothing.
This is exactly why James writes, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). If someone makes a claim to faith, but there is no corresponding reality in attitude which, given time results in visible manifestations of this attitude (i.e. good works), “[c]an that faith save him” (James 2:14)? Positively, no. “[A]re you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless” (James 2:20)?
Women, now ask yourselves why you dress the way you do. Are you trying to draw attention to yourself in any way? Then you lack humility. Are you trying to be happy, professional, and modest? If so, you have considerable Christian freedom as long as you are mindful that what men consider modest is more modest than what may naturally occur to you.
Ultimately, the problem is in one’s heart. Even an outwardly modest woman, like the woman in the picture, can be screaming for attention inside. In this case, do not think her outward modesty appeases the God who can read the intentions of her heart. Seemingly innocent things like hair styles can be intentionally used by women to draw attention to themselves.
Here’s some practical advice in an otherwise heavily theological article: If your hair takes you more than 20 minutes to do when your hair is dry, boys and girls, it ain’t modest!
So, if your flippant response to a picture like the above of this article is, “Who are you to tell me how to dress” or “Just because you’re weak in that department that does not mean everyone must dress to suit your tastes,” you need to ask yourself this: Where do you get this idea that Christians have rights? Christians do not have any rights, rather they have only one such right: to humble oneself to the point of death for the sake of their Savior who did that for them.
In closing, love compels the Christian woman to be careful how she adorns herself. Covering up some skin is much less painful than death on a cross, something your Savior did for you if indeed you know Him. If a supposed Christian cannot even do the simplest of things (like control one’s dress) for the sake of the brethren, then how am I supposed to take seriously that this person is even a Christian at all?
The meme is much more accurate than you think.
*We are saved by grace, through faith which works through love.