“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Few of us are particularly concerned about whether it is proper to wear white after Labor Day. We devote much more thought to what fickle Missouri weather will bring us and if we are going to be freezing cold or burning hot. One of St. Paul’s favorite metaphors for speaking about the life of a baptized Christian is that of putting on an article of clothing. He utilizes that image in his letters to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians. For in holy baptism, we put on Christ, the robe of righteousness and the garment of salvation. And it is the daily use of baptism in which we remove the old clothing of sin and shame, and we put on the new self as Paul describes earlier in Colossians 3.
As the new self, with new clothing, we live new lives. The attire that Paul describes as belonging to the new self never goes out of fashion or out of season. Compassionate hearts are always needed in a world broken by sin and its terrible effects. Kindness, humility, meekness and patience are needed both in our world today, but also within the Church. It is my hope and prayer that we would daily return to the baptismal waters and strip off the old garments of anger, wrath, malice and unwholesome talk and rather put on the new self, made new in Christ through the baptismal waters so that we put on love.
By the Holy Spirit’s work, may we put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Daily contrition and repentance mean a return to the first absolution delivered in baptism, but also is the strength to keep both the first and second tables of the Law, loving both God and our neighbor. Putting on the new self is the right clothing for life in our world, for our homes and family, congregations and schools. May we be put on this new self, made new by the Holy Spirit, that we might be renewed in the image of creator to love and serve one another. This is who we are in Christ as God’s baptized children for we have put on Christ!
Prayer – Almighty God, You gave Your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Himself. Grant that we, who have been baptized into Christ, may put on the new self that we may be daily renewed by Your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan