God created boundaries for early believers

All cultures have boundaries, whether geographic or citizenship rights, that set that particular culture apart from others. In the creation story, God separates the dark from the light and land from the water.

God also separates Israel from other nations, and one distinguishing mark is separating Sabbath from the rest of the week. Time and space become “sacred” because they are marked off from what is not sacred.

The 22nd chapter of Deuteronomy continues the tradition of creating boundaries that distinguish holiness for Jews.

While staying in an Orthodox kibbutz in Israel on the Sabbath, the elevators were programmed to stop at every floor so the riders would not have to “work” by pushing a button. By taking the Sabbath seriously, these Jews were setting themselves apart by setting boundaries. They also took seriously the separation of clothing worn by men and women.

The reformed Jews I stayed with at another kibbutz considered the clothing laws of Deuteronomy 22 irrelevant. Christians are not under the laws of Deuteronomy, so they need not worry if it is a sin to wear the opposite gender’s clothing.

Rather, questions for Christians to ask of themselves and their neighbors are: “Do our actions, attitudes and behaviors set us apart from non-Christians?” and “Are there signs of holiness in us and our church?”

— Dale Clem, First United Methodist Church, Anniston

Christians are not under Old Testament laws

It should be noted that the New Covenant initiated by Jesus supersedes Old Testament law for Christians and frees us from strict observance of Old Testaments rules.

Galatians 5:13 reads, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

There was a time in our culture when it would have been wrong for women to wear pants. But as time has passed, clothing styles have changed and pants have been designed in very feminine ways for women.

In the Bible, men wore tunics and robes; only the priest wore pants, and they were worn during his priestly service. However, you were able to distinguish what a woman wore in biblical days from what a man wore.

The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians that we should abstain from every appearance of evil. Whether we are in the privacy of our homes or out in the public, I think that every man or woman should carry themselves in a way that is pleasing unto the Lord.

A man should dress in a way that makes him look masculine, and a woman should dress in a way that makes her look feminine. Our appearance should reflect our gender. But above all, our total desire should be to please God.

— Winfred Logan, Heart to Heart Ministries