Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Clothed with Christ

It has been over a year since I last posted. God has been working in my life, growing me, and I have not been led to post anything. I am learning more to pursue God, and it is both trying to self and yet exciting to my spirit.

"The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." (Romans 13:12-14)
I am struck by the fact that wearing deeds of darkness is contrasted with putting on Christ, NOT putting on good deeds. This indicates not subjecting myself to a law resulting in slavery, sin, and death, but to the principle of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, a relationship with Christ (Romans 8:2,15). I could be tempted to turn to good deeds when "casting off" (ESV) the evil deeds of darkness, but good deeds are to be an outflow of my relationship with Christ (Romans 8:3-4).

Therefore, above all, to cast off my deeds of darkness I must maintain my personal relationship with God through Christ. I have been learning and proving the necessity of this in my own life the past couple of days. It is only by being clothed by the sacrifice (Gen. 3:21) that my sins are atoned. It is only with the blood of the lamb the high priest could enter God's presence. It is only by coming to God in the name of His Son--the Lamb, the Sacrifice on my behalf--that I can come to Him at all! And so I must come to Him very CONSCIOUS of the fact that I come only because of my position "in Christ," and not by my own merit.

Being thus conscious before God of my own WORTHLESSNESS without Christ and my redeemed position IN Christ is to "put on" Christ.

This is not limited to prayer, the allocated time when I "come before God," but ALL THE TIME. For all my life is lived before the Lord (Gen. 17:1).

Starting by remembering my relationship with God "in Christ," this becomes practical by the doing of the opposite of those deeds of darkness. In Ephesians 4:21-32 we see this very thing: put off falsehood, speak truth; cease stealing, work and give to the needy; speak not what is unwholesome, but edify with your speech. I must consider the specific sins, the "deeds of darkness," that I myself have indulged in, and ask the Lord, "What is the opposite of that sin, that, clothed with Christ, I may do instead?"

It is also important to note that verse 12 says I am to put on the armor of light. I have heard it explained that part of this is bringing my sins into the light, exposing them. Sin thrives in secrecy and darkness, and if there is any hope of being set free from its hold, I must confess it.