Clothed with Christ. Galatians says, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”.
I have been walking around for a few weeks now thinking about what it means for us to be clothed with Christ. And I’ve really been struggling with Paul’s language here…within our context in the 21st Century…clothing is important, clothing often communicates much about an individual just upon their appearance, we are often told to wear certain clothes for specific occasions….in our society clothes matter. The speak something about our character, about our personality, we have different clothing for different occasions. Business clothes, church clothes, business casual, casual, exercise clothes, going out clothes
So being clothed with Christ…what does that mean?
What kind of statement does this make about our character? about our personality?
23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
What does it mean to be clothed in Christ?
Through our baptism, we experience the symbolic dying and rising to new life in Christ. That our life is no longer our own but now bound to the life of Jesus.
Through our faith and the movement of the Holy Spirit our baptism, our sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ, is what clothes us in Christ. We are given a new wardrobe. The thing that kept coming back to me when thinking about this was that… we take clothing off. We change clothes. As I mentioned we have clothing for different occasions.
And I realized…this is what we do with our baptism. This is what we do with our new life in Christ. Depending on how we feel that day will determine
how much we live into our baptism,
how much we will live into our union with Christ.
Way too often, we put on other clothes that cover up our identity as Christians or we simply leave it aside. It amazes me how easily we take off Jesus…and amazes me how I have caught myself doing this at times when anger or jealousy controls my response to people instead of the love of Jesus. How we as a people would rather talk about someone behind their back then to have honest, real, open conversations. How we would much rather pretend to be happy and okay instead of sharing our brokenness with one another and being vulnerable with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Is this being clothed with Christ?
We take off Christ so that we can blend in with our surroundings and not offend anyone
We take off Christ so that we can put our guard uniform on to protect the Church that doesn’t even belong to us.
We take off Christ so that we don’t have to acknowledge the privilege that comes with our race.
We take off Christ so that we can more easily reach our holster to protect us from our enemies.
We take off Christ so that we can put him in the closet with “the others” we have silenced there
We ignore our baptism.
We ignore the promises, the covenant, that we made before God and the Church. How easily we seem to forget the vows that we have made in our baptism.
I feel as though we have misinterpreted Paul and that we are not living as a people who are clothed in Christ.
Paul tells us that being clothed in Christ, means being made one in Christ…that there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female. Christ overcomes these things that seem like boundaries.
This passage is trying to answer people’s questions about how much a Gentile must be like a Jew to be a Christian…and Paul’s answer is that all who believe, all who are baptized, are united through the body of Jesus Christ.
Paul, a Jew, was not renouncing the law but was announcing freedom from the heaving clothing of the rituals and practice of the law, the weight of societal norms that try to evaluate our worth,
Paul is telling us that our worth is not found through blending in with the crowd,
our worth isn’t found in our self-righteousness,
our worth isn’t found in our skin color
our worth isn’t found in our appearance,
and our worth isn’t found in our position in the church.
Christ eliminates that weight and tells us our worth, our justification, is found in our faith in the life and work of Christ on the cross. Through our baptism we put on Christ and become neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, but we are one in Christ.
Clothed with Christ.
To be clothed with Christ, is to be clothed with this knowledge, with this faith, that we are all one in Christ. We must choose to put on Christ each and every day and live faithfully into our new life. By remembering our baptism each day, we are equipped by the same spirit as Jesus so that we might go out and transform the world.