Q: Why are Adventists encouraged not to wear jewelry? — Adah, from Nigeria
A: Adah, this is an interesting question that has been discussed for some time. Some people think that not wearing jewelry is somehow a “salvation by works” issue, but as Seventh-day Adventists we believe that we are saved by the blood of Jesus, not by anything that we do or do not do.
The question of jewelry comes under the broader topic of Christian lifestyle and appearance. How should we, as Christians, portray ourselves to the world?
What is the example of Jesus? We know from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy that people were attracted to Him not by His outward appearance, but rather from the beauty of His kind and loving character that came from within.
In the book of Revelation two contrasting women are described — one representing Babylon (false religion), and another representing God’s true Church. It is interesting to notice how each of them is adorned.
Describing Babylon, we read in Revelation 17:4-5: “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth” (NKJV).
The woman symbolizing God’s true Church is described in Rev. 12:1 as “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars” (NKJV).
Notice the simplicity, brightness and natural beauty of the pure woman as compared with the lavish ornamentation of Babylon.
In addition, we are living in the last days of Earth’s history and we are to uplift Christ pointing people to Him and not ourselves. We are to live a simple and humble life, through God’s grace, as a witness to the world during this last unfolding of the sanctuary message focusing on the time of the day of atonement. Through the Lord’s grace, this involves all aspects of lifestyle for men and women.
What a privilege to be part of God’s pure, holy, humble, and righteous people all through Christ’s righteousness imputed to us by justification and imparted to us by sanctification. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and a right relationship with God and each other (for further study, see: Genesis 35:2-4; Exodus 33:3-6; Psalm 119:37; Isaiah 3:16-24; Isaiah 61:1-10; Hosea 2:13; John 8:29; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Timothy 2:9, 10; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 2 Peter 3:9-13; 1 John 2:15-17).
More on the subject of jewelry is available on the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) website, including a study on “Christian Lifestyle and Appearance” by Ekkehardt Mueller.
Another excellent resource is the book, “Jewelry in the Bible,” by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, available for purchase here.