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"Putting On Christ"

"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Rom13:14)

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His command- ments. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:3,15)

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:10-12)

The world in which we live calls many things "christian." Many congregations are called "christian." People and nations call themselves "christian." Often attitudes, priorities, ethical values and even politics garner the label. If someone has a bent different from someone else, the put-down will often be, "That isn't a very 'christian' attitude."

What, actually, IS a Christian? By definition: professing belief in Jesus Christ; related to or derived from Jesus; being Christlike. The term was initiated in Antioch (Acts 11:26) where, among other things, the world took note that the Believers had an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

It is a matter of "Abiding in Christ."(Jn15:4) Last month we found that "abiding" meant "to remain." Being in a stationary relationship with the "trunk," Jesus Christ.

Contrary to popular belief, Christian warfare is also a matter of "remaining." STANDING FIRM. (1Cor16:13) I would challenge anyone to provide FROM SCRIPTURE God's command to go on the offensive, seeking out the enemy; taunting him.

As the enemy goes about "like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour"(1Pet5:8) we are given DEFENSIVE weapons. These weapons are not of this world (2Cor10:3-4), but are spiritual. (Eph6:14-18)

"STAND THEREFORE, having girded your waist with truth." At the time this was written, men wore long robes. If a man was about to get into heavy labor, run, or some other serious physical activity, he would tuck these robes up around his waist so as not to trip, to have freedom of movement. The "Truth shall make you free."(Jn8:32) Jesus said, and further, "I am...the Truth."(Jn14:6) For battle, we are actually girding ourselves with Jesus Christ.

"...having put on the breastplate of righteousness." The breast- plate protects the vital organs. We speak of receiving Christ "into our heart." Eastern thought put Him in the "belly." When we become new, in Christ, our sin nature is put to death, and we are born anew in Righteousness. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."(2 Cor 5:21) "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him." (1Jn2:29)

"...having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace." What is the "gospel?" The message about Jesus. Isaiah 53:1 asks the question, "Who has believed our report?" ("Report" equals "mes- sage.") And goes on to describe Christ. Furthermore, "He Himself is our Peace." (Eph2:14)

"Above all, taking the shield of faith..." Faith, without which it is "impossible to please God." (Heb11:6) Paul writes, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?"(2Cor13:5) Thomas had to see to believe. But Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (Jn20:29) The Object of this faith? The Resurrected Christ!

"And take the helmet of salvation..." Paul proclaimed, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation.." (Rom1:16) The multitude which 'no one could number' cries out, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Rev7:10) "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Ths5:9)

"...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.."(Jn1:14) God's creative power simply spoke the words, and "it was so." Jesus spoke, and the storm was calmed. At Jesus' command demons left people, the lame walked, the blind saw, and sinners were forgiven.

When Jesus promised the coming of the "comforter" or helper, He explained, "when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak... He will glorify Me, for he will take of what is Mine and declare it to you."(Jn16:13-14)

When John exhorts the Believer to "test the spirits" (1Jn4:1), if we have Christ we know the task is easy, because Heb 4:12 assures us that He "is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edge sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit...and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

As the enemy comes at us Peter instructs us to "always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.."(1Pet3:15) And, in case we are worried about what to say, Jesus encourages, "Do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."(Mt10:19-20)

So we see, if we Abide IN Christ, and Put ON Christ, then we have the assurance, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom8:31) We experience the fullness of the Unity with Christ that He prayed about in John 17. "If we ask...according to His will.." (1Jn5:14) we can be assured that we Know His Will, because we are AT ONE with Him.

As soldiers, then, "no one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."(2Tim2:4-5)

Let us remember Jesus' words when He said, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you..because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."(Jn15:18-19) So, if we abide in Christ, and have Him "on" as armor, we know the victory is assured. "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."(1Cor15:57) because "..the battle is the Lord's."

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."(Eph6:13)

Amen!


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