Meditations in Galatians #19, Friday, June 19, 2009    Galatians 3:27   "New Clothes"

"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."


So baptism equals clothing?  Oh, Paul did not say exactly say "clothed." What he really said should have been translated "put on." Well how is that different? Father, help me get this straight. If I am clothed with Christ, doesn't that make it some sort of external thing? Maybe for a hypocrite, but that can't be what Paul is saying. So, this must be something real, therefore the baptism here isn't the public display in literal water, but the reality of personally internally dying with Christ on the cross.          

Father, that is clear as mud. Please help me to get back to what Paul is talking about. He is talking to Galatians who need to be sternly chastised for changing their focus from what Jesus has done for them to what they can do to help themselves.
He made it clear that they are no longer living by God's indwelling Spirit because they have been deceived and have begun to act religious about spiritual things. They have taken matters into their own hands. I wonder if there is even some sense of religious competition involved, with some people striving to be more religious than others. Paul has been explaining why they are no longer to be slaves to any kind of religious activity. Since Moses' Law was their stumbling block, he wrote about that, but It is clear to me that any religious law, from man, from within ourselves, of even if it looks like it came from the Bible, can interfere with the  provisions Your Son has made for us. That 's why Paul said to them. "Stop this! You are Sons now, and no longer under a tutor."  And now he adds to it: You don't need any law anymore because You have died with Jesus, and it is now His life that is making you holy.

But why did Paul think this sentence was necessary? Oh...he is reminding the Galatians that they were baptized into Christ. Paul wanted to emphasize the reality of their original faith in Christ. But, he is adding that they are no longer under the Law as a tutor because they have "put on" Christ. They arn't "just" Sons of God, but Jesus HImself is in them. 

So what You want me to see is that being "clothed" with Jesus, "putting on" Christ, no matter how it is described, means that as I die with Jesus, and receive Him as my spiritual life, one of the things that happens is that I am free from any religious Law.

Were those Galatians who returned to religious slavery no longer dead in Christ? Were they no longer Sons of God? Paul seems to be saying that they really were "saved" but that they had lost God's spiritual provisions, They were putting themselves into an unnecessary slavery. They we not acting like Sons. And they were not living like Jesus. They were closing their hearts to the Holy Spirit in order to be religious again.

Father, did I ever do this? How many times, did You say??? (Ouch!)

How do I purge my heart of the desire for the "self" to live a religious life through me, instead of Your Son, Jesus, living a spritual life through me?  It feels like a seesaw. Up and down, several times a day, especially when I am tired, or working, or stuck in some kind of life mode that doesn't feel spiritual.  So this is why You say that we are to live by faith. It is faith in Your Son to live through us that enables us to be spiritual, and not self-driven. I have so much to learn. (sigh)


To see a really funny Christian Video click here!

And yes, it actually does relate to this meditation! 
If you tried this yesterday, I have changed the link to youtube. It should work ok now.

Thank You for giving me a few minutes of your time. Galatians is a unique letter. It will take some time to get into Paul's mind, and from there to understand what God has chosen to reveal through the disaster that the congregation at Galatia was experiencing.

The effect of these Meditations will be cumulative, and the real benefit may have nothing to do with what I have written. I believe that the discipline of having a brief daily conversation with God about the meaning of a variety of Bible passages over a period of a few weeks, even if you come to some very different conclusions, will still be a wonderful and enlightening experience for you. At, under the Yellow Pages, is some background info about Galatians. If you missed an earlier Meditation, you can still read it at by going to the homepage, clicking on Newsletter, and clicking on "browse previous newsletters