What is to be “transformed into the same image” of Christ? (Part 3) or What is to put on Christ?

When we are transformed into the same image of Christ, we have put on Christ. God uses the analogy of putting on garments repeatedly throughout the Bible to signify our transformation.

When Christ died on the cross, he gave up his divinity so that he could die for us. Only through Christ, can we have this attitude, to give up everything we know, everything with experience, everything we feel that is righteous, godly or even divine, so that we can help our brothers and sisters to be saved into the house of God. That is how we would “be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes from faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phi. 3:9). That is how we “live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7) Only when we are willing to give up everything that we have attained can the body of Christ be formed. We must “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phi. 2:3). “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” (Phi. 2:5-8)

When we “have this attitude in [ourselves] which was also in Christ” (Phi. 2:5), Christ will be able to change us. Our transformation so we are not only inwardly like Christ but outwardly like Christ is represented in the Bible as a change in our clothing. The analogy is putting on Christ as clothing so externally others see who we are internally. This analogy reaches all the way back to Adam as “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Gen. 3:21) This was to cover their nakedness as the things of the flesh, when exposed, is shameful, once we knew what good and evil is. Adam “said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.’” (Gen. 9:10) He did not want to be caught naked, so God made the first sacrifice. God sacrificed an animal and God clothed them.

Further along in the Old Testament, when the tabernacle was set up in the wilderness, Aaron and the priesthood were clothed in fine linen. Moses represented Christ as he was the savior of God’s people. He was the deliver who will free the children of Israel from bondage. Today, Christ is “The Deliverer [who] will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom. 11:26) Realize Moses was the one who washed and put on the priestly garments that Aaron and his sons, who form the priesthood, wore. “Then Moses had Aaron and his sons come near and wash them with water. He put the tunic on him and girded him with the sash, and close to him with the rope and put the ephod on him; and he girded him with the artistic band after ephod, with which he tied it to him.” (Lev. 8:6-7) “Moses then took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.” (Lev. 8:10) “Next Moses had Aaron’s sons coming near and clothed them with tunics, and girded them with sashes and bound caps on them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Lev. 8:13) Moses in fact dressed the entire priesthood. Today, we “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9) being dressed by Christ Himself. Realize how marvelous God is to tell us that every one of Aaron and his sons, all these grown men, were washed and dressed by Moses. In his last parable, Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18) To be a part of the priesthood as we mature, realize we need to let Christ dress us. Dressing us means he becomes our clothing. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27) Every one of us needs to be clothed with Christ. When Christ clothes us with Himself, “There is neither Jew or Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28) as our outward expression is no longer ourselves, but Christ. What we show to the world is no longer ourselves, but Christ so there is no longer any differences separating us. That is why we are all one in Christ Jesus. In our interactions with each other we must let Christ dress us so we put on Christ. That is how we resolve our personal relationships. That is how we unify the “churches” today to form his one body.

As we live Christ, “for to me to live is Christ…” (Phi. 1:21), Christ becomes our lives, “when Christ, who is our life…” (Col. 3:4), so as we mature in Christ, “…to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13), Christ is formed in us, “…until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). This internal realization of Christ will allow us to let Christ dress us so we express him outwardly. We no longer will be young, dressing ourselves, but matured to let Christ dress us. Realize Christ has to dress us. When he dresses us, we would be dress in fine linen, dressed in the priestly garments to serve each other. As his priests, we would eat of the sin offering, which is Christ Himself, so we would be transformed to bear the iniquity of the people around us. Moses said to the priests, “Why did you not eat the sin offering at the holy place? For it is most holy, and He gave it to you to bear away the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord.” (Lev. 10:17) When we eat Christ, having put on Christ to become his priests, we express Christ outwardly by loving all his people, to bear away their sins. “Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:11) Realize love takes away the guilt of others so they could come before Christ. If we show Christ’s love for each other, we will bears away all our sins, making atonement for each other before the Lord. When we love others, embracing them even with all their iniquities, they will be constrained by Christ’s love expressed through us. This is how God showed his love for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died, and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15) As Christ is expressed through us, loving and forbearing others even in their sins, they will realize something is different about us. We are not trying to make people realize they are wrong according to the law or teach them how to be good. This simply does not work. Knowing the law and following the law did not work for us. Why do we expect it to work for others? Show them Christ. Show them the inner substance of who he is. Show them the love of God. When people see the love of Christ, they will love him. Just as “We love, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19), they will love, because Christ first loved them. When we love, they will begin to love the Christ expressed from us and be controlled by his love, so they will be transformed and no longer live for themselves, but for Christ. In the “churches” today, if each of us will show this love of Christ towards each other, we will make atonement for each other before the Lord and form the body of Christ. That is how the bride of Christ will be made ready. When we express the love of Christ externally, we have been clothed with Christ living him outwardly. We have made ourselves ready as the bride of Christ. “…The marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7-8) When we love Christ, He lives through us so we are doing righteous acts in Christ. Loving and forgiving is now the righteous act to do, as the death of Christ has absolved all our sins, both for us and for others, if we turn to Christ. We just need to know how to turn others to Christ. This wisdom only comes from Christ. “Christ is the power and wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24) “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” (Col 1:28) To admonish and teach every man in all wisdom is to present Christ to them so they may, in turn, be presented complete in Christ. Christ Himself is “the true knowledge of God’s mystery” (Col. 2:3). It is in “Christ Himself…[that] all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3) of our mysterious God is hidden. Christ will supply us with the wisdom and the words to say to others. If we don’t love and forgive, realize we are not living in righteousness as Christ has redeemed us all if we turn to him. As we live Christ, we will express him in whatever we do. That is why, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:17) Loving and forgiving are the righteous acts that the world sees when we are clothed with Christ, “transformed into the same image.”

Realize Christ loves and forgives us righteously because He has died for us. As He lives out of us, we have to love and forgive each other showing Christ’s righteousness.

 

 

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