This week I was reading in Galatians and ran across the following comment made by Paul:
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There 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. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
I thought the phrase “clothed yourselves with Christ” was an interesting one. The Greek word underlying the English “clothed” means to put on, or wear, clothes. It is also used metaphorically within the LXX, Irenaeus, and other sources to indicate taking on the traits of something, such as “taking on” the power of the spirit.
In Romans 13:11-14 Paul talks about believers awaking from a slumber, laying aside their previous works of darkness and sin, and:
Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Again, believers are asked to clothe themselves with Christ as compared to their previous actions indicative of someone spiritually asleep.
The metaphorical use of clothing oneself with Christ seems to urge us to take on the traits of Christ, similar to how an actor puts on the clothes and trappings of the character they play, “becoming” that character. We should be indistinguishable from Christ.
This phrase is also used in Acts 12:21, speaking of Herod putting on his royal robes prior to delivering a public address. He put on his royal robes as the symbol of his place within his kingdom. Only he was the king. Interestingly, when Paul is asking us to clothe ourselves in Christ, we are in effect being asked to put on the royal robe of our king. As a result, it seems that we then become heirs of the very same promises made to him (see my quote of Galatians earlier in this post). That seems to me like a pretty powerful metaphor that should bring hope and strength to our daily lives.
What do you think it means to clothe ourselves with Christ?