Summary: Our baptism clothes us in Christ
Clothed in Christ
Gal 3:23- 4:7
† In Jesus Name †
Grace and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The youngest firefighter…
His story has been pasted around the internet for several years, and so when I was given the story, to be honest, I thought it was another one of those urban legends that the internet is plagued with! You know, the modern equivalent of chain mail, with some guarantee of a blessing if you send it to all your friends, and some horrible threat to you, or your family, if you do not.
So I went to my favorite site that researches it, and found out, it was mostly true!
Originally appearing in a devotional book, the story tells of a child, who had leukemia, who wanted, more than anything, to be a fireman. The research site identifies him as one the first child to be granted a wish, by the Make-a-wish foundation. There is a lot more to the story, but the basic idea is that the fire department in Phoenix acquired a uniform, a badge, a yellow slicker with their department name, and swore him in, as a fireman. As his disease progressed, they watched him closely, took him places, like doctor’s appointments on their firetrucks. The night he died, they fire department, hearing of his condition, sent a ladder truck to the hospital. They had the nurses open the window, and 5 fireman came in, and sat with the young man for a while. He would soon drift off to sleep, and then, a few hours later, pass away.
Officially, the young boy was a firefighter, even though he didn’t earn the position. No one could deny it, it was an official declaration, and he was Phoenix’s first honorary fireman, right down to the clothes. Like many firefighters, his funeral was a major event, with fire truck, and firemen acting as His pallbearers
Similarly, our Galatians passage today tells us how something quite similar has occurred to us, not because of anything we have done, but out of the Father’s love and mercy. In verse 27, it describes our baptism with the phrase, we “put on” Christ. The term “put” on, there is the more often translated “be clothed with” or “be clothed in”.
It is that difference, being clothed with Christ as we are baptized into Him, that marks us as the Father’s children. Even as the uniform Bopsy was given, and the declaration and honor given him, marked him as a member of the Fire Department of Phoenix.
But like the Emperor who was sold a new invisible suit, we needed to realize that we are in need of a change of clothing, and that truth is revealed in the law.
The Role of the Law
No Vision, people perish
To discipline those, who know no discipline
Like those babysat
In the Old Testament, prior to the advent of Jesus, the Jewish people were governed by the Law – the Ten commandments and 603 other commands of what you should do, that was good, and what you should not do, because it was evil. In the midst of many signs and wonders at Mount Sinai, and having rescued them from Pharaoh and Egypt, God laid out His plan for the lives of His people.
When we talk about God’s law, we traditionally talk about three uses. The first is this, that the Law, whether the 10 Commandments or the Law which God has naturally revealed, is there to govern behavior. It keeps people guarded, or as our translation says, captive. But not just in the sense of the criminal or the prisoner of war. More like the person taken into custody to protect them, either from themselves, or from others.
It is to provide the lesson – this is wrong, and dangerous, this is wrong and just evil. That is why Solomon wrote in proverbs, “18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. The old King James didn’t use “cast off restraint”, instead translating the word “perish”. For that is what happens.
Great example. When my brother was 17, and I was 15 or so, my folks took off for the weekend, I think to go somewhere with Uncle Butchie. By the time I got off work on Friday night, there was a party going on at our house. The cooks from where we both worked brought steaks, and several cases of beverages. I don’t remember how many people were there.. but it was like just about every movie you have seen, where parents leave, and a party just spontaneously results.
Without God’s vision, without the Law being proclaimed, havoc exists.
But the law steps in, and like a aunt, babysitting you, informs us – this is wrong, that is wrong. To protect us from harm, and to protect others from us! It tells Steve and I, ya know, this party is going to get you in such trouble, it isn’t worth doing. Don’t even let the first person come over, for it starts with one or two, and ends up with….