Cosmetics And A Covering For Sin

“When a woman wants to disguise herself and to use make-up, she will put on something that will hide the wrinkles on her face. But if after putting it on she comes into the cold or into the heat, all the wrinkles she wanted to hide will be seen for the sun will have ruined all that beautiful appearance she had applied. So it is with us when all we do is use make-up, disguise ourselves and plaster ourselves, wishing to cover evil this way with fiction and falsehood. But all that soon vanishes when God gives us a sign of his presence.”

– John Calvin, commenting on Genesis 3:7-10 in Sermons on Genesis: Chapters 1-11, p. 251.

Aside from the spiritual reality that this illustration is pointing to, I confess I find myself wondering if Calvin’s wife ever wore make-up! Calvin is truly one-of-a-kind. What other 16th century man could combine practical theology and practical tips on cosmetics into one sermon! Ok, I suppose it is possible that some of the ladies in his congregation may have taken issue with the phrase, “disguise herself.”

At any rate, the counsel from Calvin would be, spend less time using plaster and mortar to turn your face into a fictional character. If the truth be told, it doesn’t work that well anyway. And more importantly, don’t waste your time fumbling around with fig leaves of your own self-righteousness. Your sin requires nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!

“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:14)


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