By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
I remember when I first heard the phrase, “put on Christ”. It was in reference to putting on the whole armor of God found in Ephesians. The next time I heard the phrase “put on Christ” was during the invitation where nonbelievers are encouraged to put on Christ in baptism. In both instances, there is a reminder that knowing is not the same as doing. We must be willing to take action based on the beliefs that we espouse to hold true.
Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV): 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.
You will know when someone has put on Christ, there is a dramatic transformation that takes place. The apostle Paul encourages Christians to live a life of patience, kindness and meekness to show they are God’s chosen people. Paul also lists the need to show compassion for others, bearing with one another and forgiving each other. You may have noticed that these attributes are not common in everyday life. As God’s chosen people, we are to live a life that is aligned with His values.
Colossians 3:5-10 (ESV): Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
The mistake we sometimes make is we attempt to put on Christ without putting to death our old selves. You will notice in the above passages that Paul starts with the need to put to death your old self before instructing us to put on Christ. The reason is clear; before we put on Christ in baptism, we are walking with the world and participating in feelings of anger, wrath, malice, and slander. Peace and joy are found in the salvation of Jesus Christ, and the only way to be saved is to put on Christ in baptism. Even if we believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is the Son of God, we are not saved until we “put to death” our old selves. It is only by putting to death your old self that you have the ability to put on your new self. Similar to the need for us to put on the armor of God for protection. We cannot put on the armor God while wearing the armor of the world. So, I ask you, have you put on Christ… and do your actions demonstrate the same?
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
There are many thoughts and considerations that pass through the mind of someone thinking about being baptized. A person could be wondering if baptism is necessary to be saved.
Mark 16:16 (ESV): Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
A person could be contemplating if they understand enough to commit to being a Christian.
Romans 10:9 (NIV): If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Do you know why God only requires us to understand Jesus is His son and that He was raised from the dead in order for us to be baptized? It primary has to do with the gift of the Holy Spirit. You receive the Holy Spirit once you are baptized and it will help you better your understanding of God.
Acts 2:38 (ESV): And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:12 (ESV): Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
Quite simply, you cannot lean on your own understanding when deciding when you know enough to be baptized. You have to trust in the Lord’s wisdom and understand that you will always be learning. There will never be a point in your Christian walk when you can confidently say, “I have it all figured out”, so don’t wait another day to be a Christian.
Proverbs 3:5-7 (ESV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.