Galatians 3:26-4:7

Galatians - Being dressed in Christ

Galatians 3:26-4:7
My sermon this week is on Galatians 3:26-4:7, and in my talk we looked at 5 awe-striking truths from this text, but in this devotion I've chosen to focus on the last bit of one sentence from Chapter 3 verse 27b; ... put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.

If you heard the message you'll have heard me sharing an experience I had recently while praying to salvation with a friend. It was a beautiful moment as any moment of salvation is, but as I mention in the talk, it was also for me a bit of an aha-moment. As we were talking just before she invited Jesus into her life, my friend told me how it felt like she was dressed in a dress that was too small, as she was dressed in wrong clothes. This is a woman that had no pre-knowledge of the Bible, having first grown up in a Muslim nation and then later in life practised Buddhism for 18 years. But these were the words she used; it feels like being dressed in a dress that doesn't fit. Which automatically reminded me of some words from Isaiah 61, part of a prophetic passage that Jesus fulfilled for us where Isaiah writes; I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

As I listened to my friend, I realised how her experience was so descriptive - spot on. This is how it is to live without Jesus. The sin of this word, our own sin, trapping us as if we're trapped in clothes that doesn't fit. It's not what we were created for, in these clothes we're not free to live the life we're created to live. We are trapped, even when we can't really explain what we are trapped in, which was the case for my friend, she could only describe how it felt. And then, knowing this passage, I could explain that this is what happens when we receive Jesus - it is as that wrong dress, those too small clothes that we are trapped it, clothes that you were never created to wear, our sin, is taken off and instead we are dressed with clothes that fit, his salvation and his righteousness - and then we are free to dance, to move, to live - in the freedom Jesus came to give us. As Paul says later on in Galatians, for freedom Jesus has set us free.
 
Dressed in Jesus, we are free to live the life we are created to live - but there is more to this being dressed in Jesus. In Luke 15 we read the story of the prodigal son, the son that left his home and his family. There's something really interesting that happens when the son returns to his father. First we've got that beautiful scene where the father runs to his son, throws his arms around him and kisses him, and then something interesting happens. The father tells his servants; 'quick' bring the best robe and put it on my son. And the servants come running and put the best robe on him - and by doing that he is not just giving him a nice welcome home gift, no, by having this robe put on his son, the Father is telling the son as well as everyone that is watching, that the sons position as son is restored, that he again has his rightful place in the family.

Now this is interesting. We know that the father in this story is a picture of God, our heavenly Father. When we receive Jesus we are dressed in his righteousness. Those wrong clothes that were trapping us, our sin, is taken off and we are dressed in his salvation, being made right with God. But not only that, we are also being restored as children of God. Not just right with him, but adopted into his family as his children. We, every one of us, are wearing that best robe, we all have our rightful place in the family. No one more than the other - all equally counted as God's children. Having exactly the same value, no robe better than or worse than the other. We're all dressed in the same robe of righteousness. We all have the same Father and we're all part of the same family.

This truth, that we are all part of the same family, that we are one, is so important to Jesus that in his final prayer for us, this was on his heart. He knew that the devil would do his best to destroy this unity among us, and He knew that we would be in danger of losing sight of what makes us one, and rather see our differences, focus on the things that can divide us. So he prayed; “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.' John 17. 20-23

And my prayer is that this will also be our prayer. That we will pray for, and live in and be determined to do our part to make sure that this family unity among us is protected.

And then there is one more point of being dressed in this robe I'd like to mention. In my talk you'll see me sharing a photo of my friend Toyo. I was drawn to this photo when I saw it on her profile. It's just a small photo on her WhatsApp link, but my eyes were immediately drawn to it. She'd got herself a new dress, and it's just something with that photo that drew my eyes to it, I think it was the sense of freedom. I can just sense her being joyful and content, and free as she's dancing on the field.  Living in the freedom of having our sin and shame and guilt taken off. Living in the freedom of not needing to proof our worth. Living in the freedom it is to be dressed in Jesus, his righteousness and His salvation. Knowing that we are loved, that we have our rightful place in God's family, knowing that our worth is not depending on anything we do, but simply by being a child of God. When we live in that freedom, just as my eyes were drawn to the photo of my friend, people around us will be drawn to God through us.

We can learn all kinds of techniques for evangelism, and that can be well and good. But honestly I am convinced that no technique or ABC to evangelism, can compare to the effect of a life lived in the freedom Jesus came to give us. Having those wrong clothes that hinders us taken off, and that robe of salvation put on. When we truly grasp that this is the reality once we have received Jesus, when we truly live in that freedom. When we serve God not out of a feeling of duty, trying to earn our worth, but out of a life that overflows from the inside. Then people will want to experience the same as we have experienced. 2. Corinthians 2.15 says; We are a sweet smell of Christ that reaches up to God. It reaches out to those who are being saved from the punishment of sin and to those who are still lost in sin.

Have you ever considered what it means that you are dressed in Christ, that you are dressed in his righteousness and his salvation. Have you ever tried to imagine how you look dressed in that robe? Take a moment to close your eyes and try to imagine yourself with that robe on, knowing that this is how God sees you, and ask in to reveal to you what that truly means.

Apply

  1. Do you feel as metaphorical speaking you're dressed in too small clothes (sin, guilt, not being enough...), or do you live in the reality of being dressed in Jesus' salvation and righteousness?

    -  Spend some time this week meditating on Romans 8:1-2

  2. Are there any Christians around you that you have difficulties to see as your brothers or sisters?

    -  Spend time praying Jesus' prayer from John 17:20-23 including them and yourself into the prayer.

  3. Try starting every day this week by praying 2 Corinthians 2:15 over yourself, praying that those who are still lost in their sins will be drawn to Jesus through your life, and go into the day expecting that God will answer your prayer!

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank you that through your death on the cross you provided a way for me to be dressed in your salvation and righteousness. Thank you that because of this I have been made right with God and adopted as His child. Help me to live in that freedom this brings and I pray that through my life in you people around me will be drawn to life in you too.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Elisabeth Radtke, who is a Deacon at our Croydon Plant.

Elisabeth unpacks these themes in more detail in her sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.