Putting on Christ; November 25, 2020

Galatians 3:26-27 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

There is so much meaning in these verses, and the two that follow, that it takes a lifetime to unpack it all. I hardly know where to start! All sorts of things flash through my mind. One of them is Tony Stark putting on the “Iron Man” suit and being transformed into a “super hero.” Lots of human mythology includes that image, and here we have the reality. I can almost see Jesus asking us, “Are you putting Me on?” Of course, in normal idiom that means, “Are you kidding me?” but this is far more literal than that. This all goes to explain how we can be sons of God. It has nothing to do with gender or race, as verse 29 makes very clear, but everything to do with faith. I well remember a man speaking to a Women’s Aglow conference (I attended with my wife, since I was a pastoral advisor) saying that they were all sons of God and he was a daughter of Zion, referencing Zechariah 2:10 and many other Scriptures. This also brings to mind the white robes mentioned throughout Revelation, and the many references throughout the Bible to being clothed with righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10, etc.) The devil wants us to focus on our sin, when God lifts us out of that by clothing us with Christ. We do not become Him, but we are given His attributes, that is, His righteousness and purity, which are totally out of reach apart from the sovereign grace of God.

All of this is of course inseparable from the Biblical concept of “in Christ,” which is what my father wrote his doctoral thesis on. I’ve got to remember that, as my father discovered, being in Christ is possible only to the degree that He is in me by His Holy Spirit. This passage in Galatians speaks of “putting on,” but our metaphors are inadequate for the incredible, glorious reality of being in Christ. I’ve got to consciously take in His Word to let it abide in me just as Jesus talked about in John 15:7, and even the Psalmist realized in Psalm 119:11. That done, I need to open up to let His Spirit flow through me, not trying to “bottle Him up” but allowing Him to flow as He chooses. If I will do that, then I will indeed be “clothed with Christ” and His character will be revealed in and through me. As Peter said so clearly, if I fail to let that happen it means that I have forgotten that my sins have been forgiven and cleansed, and I am no longer bound by them. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. Help me indeed live in this reality, and not deceive myself by keeping it as just intellectual knowledge. (James 1:22) Thank You for reminding me that we are starting the Advent season, and for telling me to speak on Your promises. That’s a very huge topic! Help me hear You clearly as to what is to be shared each Sunday, so that all who hear may be drawn to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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