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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Clothed with the Christ

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.( Galatians 3:27 )


For we know that if our earthly house, [ this ] tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in [ this ] tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. ( II Corinthians 5:1-4 )

We must keep in mind, first & foremost, that the apostle Paul wrote these words to a certain, specific people, at a certain, specific time in history. These words of comfort were written specifically to Gentile believers to encourage them in the fact that, though they were not of the peculiar people who had been chosen to spread the Gospel under that first ( covenant ), they had indeed been integrated into that number, having inherited the Blessings of the New Covenant through their acceptance of the Christ, the One who was Sent to redeem True Israel!

Baptism into the Christ, in that day & age,  meant that they, along with the Jews, Yahweh's chosen people, would inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the accepted sign of their inclusion into the New Covenant, not like circumcision, which was merely an outward sign, but the inner reality to which circumcision had pointed ( Deuteronomy 30:6 ). Using the language of Genesis 3, the apostle assured the Gentile believers that they too had been clothed with Righteousness of the Son of God. 

In this Day & Age, to be clothed with the Christ means much the same, yet with this important difference; as the Body of Christ, which was the apostle's way of differentiating between that first ( covenant ) & the New, or the first Adam & the Last Adam, those who lived & died during that transitional period (  the crucifixion of Jesus to the destruction of the Temple ) were waiting for that time when they would be freed from the bondage that still plagued them: we are no longer waiting for that freedom, having inherited the Kingdom which they were promised.

Jesus told His Disciples, 'I [ was ] naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me' ( Matthew 25:36 ) Really, this is what it means to be Clothed with the Christ. The brother of Jesus corroborated this when he wrote, 'Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, [ and ] to keep oneself unspotted from the world.' ( James 1:27 ) Although not in so many words, maybe, the point of what Jesus & His brother said was that our actions, not our words ( beliefs, doctrines ) define who we are. Being clothed with the Righteousness of the Christ means that we are doers, not just hearers or sayers!

The Christ, as personified in Jesus, was/is the God-man! When He walked the Land back in the day, Jesus did many things, but maybe the simplest was that, when He saw a need, He did everything He could to meet that need. Jesus, as the Son of the Creator God & The Creator God Himself, according to accepted orthodoxy, did many miracles, such as raising the dead, healing the sick with a word & walking on water. Most would say that we may be able to imitate Jesus, doing what He did, in a manner of speaking, but some things are just too far beyond our reach. Well; it's almost unthinkable, but Jesus DID say, 'he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [ works ] than these he will do, because I go to My Father.' ( John 14:12 )

Jesus also told His Disciples, according to Luke's Gospel, 'Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[i] until you are endued with power from on high.' ( Luke 24:49 ) The question might be asked here, 'was this Power for which they waited any less that that which Jesus Himself wielded?' Many would likely say 'yes' ( if they'd even countenance such a notion ), but we must ask ourselves if we truly DO wield less Power, especially considering what Jesus said about doing greater things!

'Greater' might simply mean that they/we continue His work of reconciliation. In that case, it's true enough; we have the power to reconcile with one another, even to orchestrate reconciliation on a greater scale, but I'm not sure that covers it. It would be enough, probably, but there's so much more! If Jesus turned water into wine by the Power of the Creator God, who's to say that we can't. Because Jesus healed from a distance, by the same Power we have at our disposal, is it outside the realm of possibility that we can as well?

Despite the fact that we could do so much more than we allow ourselves, there is a lot that humanity has accomplished, many miracles that continue to occur on a daily basis. Such 'miracles', whether made possible through Science & Technology or what, occur only by the Power of the Creator God. It is 'in Him we live and move and have our being' according to the apostle Paul in Acts 17:28, He, as the Creator & Sustainer of the Universe, has endued us with all that is necessary for the subsistence of biological life, but this biological existence is not all there is!

As the Christ, Jesus showed His contemporaries that it was possible for a Man to be God! Jesus wielded the Power of the Creator God, there is no doubt; no Man could accomplish the feats that Jesus did with apart from this Supernatural Agency. Since we, however, are endued with this same  'power from on high', it follows that we, a Sons & Daughters of the Creator God ourselves can accomplish the same feats that Jesus did & greater! So, why aren't we?!

Charles Haddon Shank

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