June 20, 2008

Baptismal Clothes

Galatians 3:19-29

All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:27


It’s amazing what a new set of clothes can do for you. Put on a business suit and carry a briefcase into a job interview, and your interviewers will be favorably impressed about your qualifications for the job. Put on the sports jersey of a team you don’t usually root for, and you’ll find yourself with a new set of friends.

Clothing isn’t just something to cover our skin. Clothing is a symbol of our identity, our personality, and our taste.

It’s no wonder, then, that the Bible compares being baptized with “clothing ourselves with Christ.”

Now the reference here is not mostly about wearing clothing with Christian symbols or messages that we might buy at a Christian bookstore (though it can be an interesting experience to wear some of that and watch how people react).

The point is deeper. The point is that baptism gives us nothing less than an identity, and this identity is something we wear everywhere and all the time.

The best dressers, regardless of style, dress in honest ways, ways that reflect who they really are rather than something they are pretending to be.

The same is true for the Christian identity we “wear.” May God’s Spirit give us all grace today as we wear Christlike virtues for the world to see.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, help us to know deep in our souls that we belong to you. Then help us to reflect this identity joyfully in all we think, do, and say. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — John D. Witvliet

Dr. John D. Witvliet has served as a professor at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary for the past 11 years, as well as serving as Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He and his wife, Charlotte, have four children.

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