Aug 17, 2009

Rebuttal on Galatians 3: 27

Galatians 3: 27

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3: 26, 27 KJV)

The Greek word for "put on" is "enduo" and means to enclose oneself in, as when one "puts on" clothes or armor or some other item. Involved in this is the idea of "imitation" and "identification."

Second, the verb in Greek translated "put on" has the meaning of putting on a badge or uniform of service like that of a soldier. According to A.T. Robertson:

"This verb is common in the sense of putting on garments (literally and metaphorically as here). See further in Paul (Romans 13:14; Colossians 3:9f; Ephesians 4:22-24, 6:11, 14). In I Thessalonians 5:8 Paul speaks of "putting on the breastplate of righteousness." He does not here mean that one enters into Christ and so is saved by means of baptism after the teaching of the mystery religions, but just the opposite. We are justified by faith in Christ, not by circumcision or by baptism. But baptism was the public profession and pledge, the soldier's sacramentum, oath of fealty to Christ, taking one's stand with Christ, the symbolic picture of the change wrought by faith already (Romans 6:4-6)."

How does one "put on" Christ in baptism? Is it because he becomes a "child of God" through baptism? Is Paul saying that we are children of God by baptism as much as children of God by faith?

“Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light...put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:12,14)

“Put off," wrote Paul, "the old man,” and “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22,24); And,
put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)

The allusion is to putting off old clothes and putting on new ones, to enclosing oneself in armor, etc. When a soldier puts on armor he is imitating his superiors and trainers, is revealing himself to be a soldier.

One does not put on a uniform in order to become a soldier. Simply putting on a soldier's uniform does not make one a soldier. One is made a soldier by training, instruction, and experience. Once he is made a soldier he is then able to wear the uniform that distinguishes or marks him as a soldier.

Putting on a judge's robe does not, in itself, make anyone a "judge." But, one who has been made a judge is qualified to put on "judicial robes" and thus declare his qualifications.

So too with being baptized, the Christian puts on robes for which he has previously been qualified to wear. The putting on of Christian attire, spiritually speaking, is not what makes one a Christian, but one which becomes a token of it.

There is an inward, mystical, and spiritual "putting on" of Christ and his righteousness by the soul when it experiences the "renewing" and "regeneration" of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3: 5), but this inward clothing for the soul, which is invisible, is made visible in the outward ceremony of baptism, when the Christian visibly wears the clothes of a Christian.

If one puts on the clothes of a Christian, in water baptism, without first becoming a Christian, then he becomes an imposter, and is declaring, in baptism, to be what he is not.

Baptism is like a marriage ceremony, like the receiving of rings as "tokens" of the covenant. Marriage, like baptism, is not what actually unites the hearts of two people, but is the formal acknowledgment of it.

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