Almost every Sunday when I go to church, I wear a suit. However, In the summer, when it’s very hot, I usually wear a suit only for the first Sunday of the month. Dressing up and wearing a suit to church might not seem mentionable to you. Particularly if you live outside of California, but I could wear flip-flops, shorts, and a t-shirt to Sunday services at my previous churches without giving it a second thought. So dressing up in anything beyond my nicest jeans, tennis shoes, and shirt means something to me. After all, does God care what we wear to church? No, God looks at our hearts and doesn’t care about our outside appearance. Why, then, do I wear a suit to church?

I wear a suit to church on Sunday because it’s expected of me. Because of my office in the church, a suit on the first Sunday is part of my uniform, so I wear it. However, when I started attending my current church, I had no such office, yet I wore a suit. Why? All the other men wore suits at the time, so I wore a suit. I suppose one might say I did it to fit in, but it was more than that. I wore a suit so that I wouldn’t cause offense.

It was only after attending my current church for a while that I realized I could not wear a suit and no one would be offended, yet I, for the most part, still wore one. Although I would be just as happy (or more so) wearing jeans to church on Sunday, I didn’t. You might think that strange behavior. If so, how about this? I’ve noticed other people doing similar things.

I’ve seen people dressing down and then dressing up after being at the church for a little while. However, no one ever says anything to them about their dressing habits at church. Again, why is that? I haven’t asked anyone about this, but I expected that changed their attire for the same reasons I did. To not cause offense.

The apostle Paul gets imprisoned and sent to Rome in the book of Acts. The impetus behind Paul’s imprisonment deals with following the law of Moses. In Acts 21, we read that “thousands of Jews” had been converted to Christianity. Yet, they still followed the law of Moses (Acts 21:20). Despite their conversion to Christianity, many Jews still expected other Jews to follow the law. This is what we see in Acts 21:21.

They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs.

Acts 21:21 (NIV)

James and the other elders in Jerusalem reported to Paul that the converted Jews were told that Paul preached against the law. However, Paul didn’t preach against the law. He preached that people didn’t need to follow the law to be saved. In fact, Paul outlines his behavior quite well in 1 Corinthians.

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:20 (NIV)

Paul saw saving people’s souls as more important than following the customs of the law. If it meant that people might be saved, then Paul followed the law to not cause offense. This doesn’t mean that Paul was wishy-washy. Saying one thing to one group of people and something else to another group of people, but this is what likely caused the confusion we see in Acts 21:21.

No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Romans 2:29 (NIV)

What we see in Romans 2:29 is what Paul taught. Along with what we see here in 1 Corinthians.

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

1 Corinthians 7:19 (NIV)

Although we read in Acts 21:21 that thousands of Christian Jews thought Paul taught against the law of Moses, it wasn’t the Christian Jews who caused Paul to be arrested.

When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.”

Acts 21:27-28 (NIV)

These Jews from Asia were some of the same people who caused problems for Paul while preaching in Ephesus and the surrounding areas. They were not Christian Jews. However, it makes sense that these Jews would stir up trouble for Paul in Jerusalem. After all, if the Christian Jews misunderstood Paul’s teaching, how much greater these Jews from Asia who were not Christian?

The issue of following or not following the law was a big deal to Christian and non-Christian Jews in the early days of the church. This tension between following the old customs and embracing the freedom in Christ caused a lot of heartache and pain. We see this struggle throughout the letters in the New Testament. Instead of people focusing on the freedom they had in Christ, they focused on whether or not they should eat this type of food or that type of food. Indeed, people focused so much on the things of the flesh, like circumcision, that many missed out on the move of the Spirit.

This is why I think I wear a suit to church. Because I’d rather people focus on things like worshiping God and listening to what the Spirit is saying instead of me in my jeans and t-shirt. While I might have thought it had to do with offense, it deals more with love. Love for God and love for my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.