Cosmetology and the Christian

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 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.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

It is fascinating to learn that the two Greek words translated “adorning” in the New Testament are kosmos and kosmeo, from which we get our English words “cosmos” and “cosmology,” referring to the entire universe as an ordered system, as opposed to “chaos,” a disordered system. Surprisingly, our modern word “cosmetics” also comes from the same source which, technically speaking, constitutes any kind of adornment that transforms something ugly and disordered into something beautiful and well-ordered.

The apostle Peter, however, stresses that genuine cosmetics are not used to beautify one’s outward appearance but to transform a believer’s life by the Holy Spirit. When one’s heart and life are changed from a spiritual chaos into a purposeful cosmos through redeeming trust in Christ, the change then soon becomes apparent in the outward appearance as well. The ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit soon shows up in a peaceful and radiant countenance.

Similarly, the apostle Paul urges that Christian “women adorn themselves in modest apparel . . . not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Thus, in addition to a quiet and gentle spirit, the true Christian cosmetology is an array of good works.

Finally, the Christian herself (or himself!) should be a beautiful cosmetic adornment to the very gospel of Christ, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10). HMM

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