What does it mean to “put on Christ?” Galatians 3:26-27 states, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (NKJV). So then, faith and baptism; conviction and cleansing by immersion into Christ’s person.
This week, in particular, many will clothe themselves with costumes meticulously chosen for pretentious reasons to gain temporary prize of some sugary treat. My question is, do we clothe ourselves with Christ as carefully to present Him authentically to the world so that they, too, may reap the eternal benefit of knowing Him? What are we immersing ourselves into by what we absorb through our physical senses?
Romans 13:11-14 exhorts us, “Besides all this, you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust. The night is almost over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and arm ourselves with the weapons of light. Let us live properly, as people do in the daytime – not partying and getting drunk, not engaging in sexual immorality and other excesses, not quarreling and being jealous. Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus the Messiah; and don’t waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature” (CJB). Putting on Christ is not a one-time event, but a continual process of laying down our fleshly desires, to pursue and know Him.
Do we, as Paul encouraged the Romans, understand the times in which we live, as did the sons of Issachar (I Chr. 12:32)? Do we know that Christ’s return is imminent, or have we put it on the backburner of old doctrine that we hope is true, but fail to live in expectation of it? Are we asleep, having allowed the light that is to shine from us to wane? The Ephesian believers had.
In Ephesians 5:8-18, Paul reminded the believers that, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (NKJV).
In other words – put on Christ and shine as His light. Shun evil, do good. Be filled and led by His Spirit, not by our desires. Baptized into His person – His nature and character – we illuminate the way to redemption, the way of Christ’s cross, for our culture.
We don’t want to spiritually clothe ourselves with darkness, camouflaging who we are to fit into society. No, we are admonished to put on Christ (who stuck out wherever He went), proclaiming Him and being agents of His love to a world that needs us to be authentic, not pretentious, holy, not hedonistic, and shine forth boldly, radiating His sacrificial love. He is returning for a living church. Let’s choose to be a church that lives with conviction, full of faith, full of the Spirit, fully immersed in Christ!