For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:27)
At political campaign meetings, people often wear a certain color of clothes (e.g. blue or red) to reflect their political stance or the party that they belong to. The clothes that we choose to wear often reflect our status, our values, and even our priorities. In the verse above, what does Paul mean by having “put on Christ”?
Putting on Christ reflects our identity – we are the children of God and we are all one in Jesus Christ. Being clothed with Christ eliminates racial, social, political and cultural barriers. It signifies our union with Jesus Christ and our fellow brethren.
Yet, we are also called to put on the characteristics and virtues that reflect our identity as the children of God. Colossians 3:12 reads, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.” Paul repeatedly uses the metaphor of putting on clothes when he commands us to adopt the Christian way of life. Just as one takes off dirty clothes and puts on clean ones, so the Christian is called upon to renounce evil deeds that conform to this world’s lifestyle (the old man) and live in accordance with the rules of Christ’s kingdom (the new man).
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. (Col 3:9-10)
How we dress has an impact on how we appear to others. We also need to know how to dress appropriately for each occasion. Just as we choose our clothes daily or determine what to wear for each occasion, so we must choose persistently to put on the new man who is renewed with the growing knowledge of Jesus Christ. A Christian needs to renew himself no matter how many years he has been a Christian.
Since Jesus is our living Savior, our relationship with Him can change daily. We need to follow Him and maintain a relationship with Him. Our renewal is an ongoing and evolving process, not a ritual. We need to always think about how we can put on Christ – to learn from His character and determine to imitate and follow Him. This renewal is a lifetime process of change, no matter what stage we are in currently on our spiritual journey.