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I don't fully grasp the concept of "clothing yourselves with Christ". Galatians 3:26-29 NASB

26 For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

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  • It is a mystical expression and nobody can explain to you unless you experience it. Otherwise, to be "clad in Christ", means His intense presence in your heart and life, nothing else. But what is this intense presence nobody can explain to you unless you experience this yourself either in your own life, or beholding such presence in somebody else in a way that it influences your understanding. Unless you find practicing Christians with Christ really present in them, you will not be able to understand Christianity simply by reading Bible, the latter if futile without that. Apr 11 at 16:07

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The original Greek is only two words, "Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε" (Christ, have-put-on).

Long ago I worked in a large city and frequently walked along the streets wearing either well-worn jeans and t-shirt or business suit and tie. People treated the schlub as if I were invisible, but moved aside for the professional as if I deserved respect. The behaviour of the people toward me was noticeably different under the two situations even though I was the very same person.
(The authors of Superman were well aware of this effect when they decided not to conceal his face. When they dressed like Jews or like "normal" people they were treated very differently and not even recognized as being the same person by most people they interacted with.)

Just as the clothing we wear gives an impression of what we are to the rest of the world ("Clothes make the man."), when one "wears" Christ one presents an image of being Christ-like.

True Christians will live a life-style and behave toward themselves and others in a manner that makes it apparent that they are Christians first, with other attributes (e.g. race, social status, sex) being secondary.

From a large group of people, anyone should be easily able to pick out those that are Christians before they even notice any other attributes.

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  • +1. Thank you for that example.
    – Jason_
    Apr 12 at 17:53
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I suggest that Paul, in Gal 3:27 about "putting on Christ", is alluding to two OT passages:

  • Isa 64:6 - Each of us has become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
  • Zech 3:3, 4 - Now Joshua was dressed in filthy garments as he stood before the angel. So the angel said to those standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes!” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have removed your iniquity, and I will clothe you with splendid robes.”

Thus, Paul's instruction to "put on Christ" is an instruction to not rely on our own unrighteousness but to rely on Jesus as our righteousness and only means of salvation. Jesus used the same image in one of His parables of the prodigal son:

  • Luke 15:22 - But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

John also refers to the same idea in the book of Revelation about the saved being clothed in a white robe of Christ's righteousness, washed in the blood of the Lamb:

  • Rev 6:11 - And to each of them were given white robes, and it was said to them that they shall rest yet a little time, until their fellow servants would also be complete, and their brothers, those being about to be killed as they also had been.
  • Rev 7:13, 14 - And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These having been clothed with the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?" And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
  • Rev 19:7, 8 - For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. She was given clothing of fine linen, bright and pure.” For the fine linen she wears is the righteous acts of the saints.
  • Rev 22:14 - Blessed are those washing their robes, that their right will be to the tree of life, and they shall enter into the city by the gates.

Paul goes on to explain the idea of "putting on Christ" in Eph 2:21-24 -

Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him—in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus— to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We also have Paul saying the same thing in Rom 13:14 -

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

... and again in Col 3:9, 10 -

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

Thus, to be "clothed with Christ", or, to "put on Christ" is to be seen as Christ and act like Christ. This is the central teaching of the NT. See appendix below.

APPENDIX - Imitation of Christ

The Imitation of Christ is one of the central parts of the plan of salvation. Essentially, the Bible tells converted Christians that they must behave in the same way as Jesus did. Indeed, Jesus’ final instruction to His disciples was to make more disciples (Matt 28:19) – disciples were imitators of their masters and thus became like their teachers (Luke 6:40).

Here is a sample of the huge amount of material available on this subject.

  • Be imitators of God. Eph 5:1.
  • Made like God. Gen 1:26, 27, 5:1, 9:6, Eph 4:20-24, 1 John 3:2. Note that this means that one of the purposes of salvation is to restore the likeness of God in humans that sin has erased.
  • Walk as Jesus walked. 1 John 2:6.
  • Jesus was led by the Spirit Matt 4:1. The Christian must be born of the Spirit (John 3:5) by receiving the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38) and walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25, John 6:63, Phil 3:3, John 4:24). In fact, the whole life of Christian is to put aside the “psychical” mind and live by the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 15:44-46, Gal 5:17, Jude 19, John 6:63, 1 Peter 3:18).
  • Love as Jesus loved. John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 1 John 4:8, 11, 19, Eph 5:1, 2.
  • Lay down life for friends. John 15:13, Eph 5:2.
  • Jesus’ suffering leaves us an example. John 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21, 4:14, 5:8, 9.
  • Because Jesus was persecuted, so are His followers. John 15:20, 21.
  • Conformed to the likeness of the Son. Rom 8:29.
  • Transforming our will and bodies to conform to God’s will. Rom 12:1, 2.
  • Jesus was baptized (Matt 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21, 22) and so should we be baptized, Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38, 10:48, 16:31, 22:16, Rom 6:1-9, etc.
  • Forgive as Jesus forgave. Matt 6:12, 14, 15, 18:35, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13.
  • Be holy as Jesus is holy. Lev 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
  • Be pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3.
  • Partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4.
  • We are being changed into Christ’s glory (= reputation). 2 Cor 3:18.
  • Pray as Jesus prayed. Luke 11:1. See also the many instances where Jesus prayed earnestly such as Heb 5:7, Matt 14:23, 26:36, 39, 42, 44, Mark 1:35, Luke 3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 11:1, 22:32, 41-46, John 17, etc.
  • We are to have the mind of Christ. Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16.
  • Be kind because God is kind. Luke 6:34, 35.
  • Be merciful because God is merciful. Luke 6:36.
  • Be servants to others as Jesus was. John 13:15-17, 1 Peter 4:11b, Matt 20:24-28.
  • Be patient as Jesus was patient. 1 Tim 1:16.
  • Talk/speak as Jesus speaks. 1 Peter 4:11a.
  • Be “perfect” (= mature and generous to enemies) as the Father is. Matt 5:48.
  • Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved His people and gave Himself for her. Eph 5:25.
  • Keep the commandments as Jesus kept the commandments. John 14:15, 15:10.
  • Abide in Christ as Christ abides in us. John 15:4.
  • Jesus is the “beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13) and Jesus is the beginning and end of our faith (Heb 12:2).
  • We are co-heirs with Christ of glory. Rom 8:17.
  • Jesus gave his all and we must give up all things for Him. Rom 8:32.
  • Jesus is called the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19) and so are His followers (John 10:1-18, 21:15-17)
  • Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17) and so should we (John 13:14-17)
  • Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:4, 9, 8:12, 9:5) and so are we (Matt 5:14-16, Phil 2:14)
  • Jesus is the “firstborn” Luke 2:7, Rom 8:29, Col 1:15, 18, Heb 1:6, Rev 1:5, and we are to compose the church/assembly of the firstborn, Heb 12:23; see also Rom 8:23 & Rev 14:4 where we are also called first-fruits to God and the Lamb.
  • Jesus is our sacrifice of atonement and likened to a sacrificial lamb offered for us John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, Eph 5:2, 1 John 2:2, 4:10, Heb 10:10, 12, Rom 3:25, 1 Peter 1:19, etc. Similarly, the life of a Christian is lived sacrificially for Christ Rom 12:1, Phil 2:17, Heb 13:15.
  • Jesus, by His sacrifice on the cross, reconciled sinners to God (Rom 5:10, Col 2:16, 1:20, 22, 2 Cor 5:19), and we must also be involved in the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18, 19) as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20).

The Bible strongly emphasizes the imitation of Christ by the mechanism of beholding Christ (Phil 2:4, 5, Heb 12:2, 3, 1 Cor 2:16, Col 3:1-4, 2 Cor 3:18, Rom 13:14, John 17:17, Matt 6:19-33, 12:33-35, Rom 8:12-14; contrast 2 Kings 17:15, Ps 115:4-8, 135:15-18, Prov 10:24, 24:8, 9). “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) In fact, it is the imitation of Christ that gives Christians the title; “Christian” meaning, one who is like Christ.

The Imitation of Christ is absolutely essential to the process of Salvation (sometimes called, unbiblically, “Sanctification). In addition to the above language, the Bible has numerous other ways to express this such as: “reflecting the Lord’s glory and being transformed into His likeness” (2 Cor 3:18), being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2), “follow after righteousness” (1 Tim 6:11), walking in the “newness of life” (Rom 6:4), “perfecting holiness” (2 Cor 7:1), “partaking in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), “growing up into Christ” (Eph 4:15), “pressing toward the mark” (Phil 3:12-15), “being built up in Christ” (Col 2:7), “becoming complete in all the will of God” (Col 4:12), “fighting the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12), “growing in grace” (2 Peter 3:18), plus many more. When the Wesleys emphasized this aspect of salvation, it was sometimes later called the holiness movement.

Perhaps the best description of the Christian life, Imitating God, is found in Rom 12:9-12, 17 -

“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

But there is much more.

  • Jesus died to sin and was raised to a new life, never to die again. This is also the process of every sinner in Jesus will also die to sin (at baptism) and be raised to a new eternal life, free of sin. See Rom 6:8-11.
  • Jesus is our great high priest (Heb 4:14, 15, 7:26-28), so too, we are a holy nation of priests. 1 Peter 2:9.
  • Jesus is the chief corner-stone and we are also stones in the building. 1 Peter 2:4-6.
  • Jesus is the chief shepherd, and elders are to shepherd the flock as He would. 1 Peter 5:1-4.
  • We are to be conduits of Jesus’ “water of life”. John 4:13, 14.
  • The Levitical Laws are almost all set in the context of “I am the LORD”, essentially saying that, “This is who I am, do likewise”. See Lev 18 and 19 among many others.
  • Jesus is the promised “seed” (Gen 13:15, 24:7) of Abraham (Gal 3:16) and so are we (Gal 3:29, Rom 9:8).
  • After His ascension, Jesus was seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Ps 110:1, 5, Luke 22:69, Matt 26:64, Acts 2:33, 7:56, Rom 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3, 10:12, 12:2, 1 Peter 3:22), and so will we (Rev 3:21, see also Eph 2:6).
  • Jesus is “THE Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32, Mark 5:7, 8:28) and Christians are called “sons of the Most High” (Luke 6:35).
  • Jesus was sent by God to preach and live the Gospel (John 1:33, 4:34, 5:24, 36, 36, 38, 39, 44, 6:57, 7:28, 33, 8:16, 18, 42, 9:4, 12:44, 45, 49, 14:24, 15:21, 16:5, 20:21) and we are sent to preach the Gospel (Matt 28:19, 20, John 20:21, Gal 1:1).
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  • +1. Great compilation! Very informative.
    – Jason_
    Apr 12 at 17:49
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I dont think we have to over complicate the meaning of Gal 3:27. You are asking what does it mean . The context is referring to those who have been baptised. And it written to a Church who Paul asks ' Who has bewitched you (Gal 3: 1) There is a simplicity that is in Christ , which means do as He did , Love One another and Keep the Commandments. When one is baptised you are done so in and through the name of Jesus Christ . Baptism is a burial of the old self , rising to a newness of life . When we rise from the waters of Baptism , and after the laying on of hands , we put on Christ , we are clothed metaphorically with His Holy Righteous Character. In Gal 2:20 Paul said he was crucified with Christ and that Christ now lived in him, in another place Paul tells us to imitate him as he imitated Christ ...we are then to walk as He walked . In short to be clothed with Christ means we are walking as He did to the best of our ability as led by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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  • +1. Simple and to the point!
    – Jason_
    Apr 12 at 17:51
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There is also something to be said for considering the Biblical significance of nakedness, because being clothed is implicitly the opposite of being naked. In at least one place, the contrast is explicit; "Blessed is he who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and be seen exposed" (Revelation ch16 v15).

I'm going to suggest that to be naked is to be vulnerable. This was the state of Noah after he invented wine-drinking in Genesis ch9. In the spiritual sense, it means being vulnerable to the critical eye of God's judgment. That was the original state of Adam and Eve. In Genesis ch2 v25, they were naked to his view and it did not matter, because they were still without sin. After the Fall, their nakedness made them feel vulnerable and they tried to hide themselves behind fig leaves and trees. So God was merciful and gave them clothing, permitting them to feel that he was not observing their sin quite so closely.

Their sense of nakedness is echoed in Hebrews ch4 v13; "And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

Therefore we are advised to find clothing to conceal our spiritual nakedness. In other words to "cover" our sin. That is the import of the passage already quoted from Revelation, referring to the prospect of an imminent return of Christ and the judgment which would follow. Paul himself, mixing metaphors again, looked forward to his heavenly dwelling as something that would clothe him "that we may not be found naked" (2 Corinthians ch5 v3).

So one way to interpret this Galatians metaphor would be that Christ is "clothing" our nakedness by atoning for our sins, protecting us from God's judgmental eye (if we accept that protection by "putting him on")

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  • "Noah after he invented wine-drinking". No one had ever thought to try drinking it before then? Apr 11 at 20:35
  • We are informed in the text that he was the first tiller of the soil, as part of which he planted what was presumably the first vineyard. Apr 11 at 21:05
  • "We are informed …" — where? Compare with Genesis 4:2's "Cain was a tiller of the ground". Apr 11 at 21:07
  • I referred to Genesis ch9 v20. It looks like we are dealing with two different traditions. I am far from being the first person to draw the inference that Noah was the first wine-drinker. Apr 11 at 21:20

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