“The Night Is Nearly Over” ( Romans 13:12, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Paul encourages us with these words, “The night is nearly over;” “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed;” (Romans 13:11) and “the daylight is near.” Because the night is almost finished, and the light is dawning upon us, Paul exhorts us to “discard the deeds of darkness” since it is fading away and “put on the armor of light” since it is shining already and soon is to be in full glow. We are to “make no plans” to remain in darkness, but are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to actively avoid “quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)

Notice Paul exhorts us to put off arguing which creates barriers between we who are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul says, “Let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in [our] brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13) “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.” (Romans 14:1) “Who are [we] to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)

Therefore, Paul encourages to be accepting of one another in Christ for we are all members of the same body, who is our Lord.

“Clothed With Christ” (Galatians 3: 26 – 28, ESV) by Carley Evans

Clothing covers our bodies, protects us from the elements, adds style to our daily lives, keeps us from exposing ourselves to others who may not want to know us that well. We don clothing, which is a volitional act. Some will power is involved. We stand in front of our closets or our chest of drawers and we select items to wear. Once donned, we decide whether to wear them or not on that particular day. We leave them in place or we take them off.

We are clothed with Christ. He puts Himself on us as well as within us. But we also act in this dressing of ourselves by and with Him. He chooses us; and we allow Him His choice. We allow Him to live in us and to clothe us with Himself.

Salvation is both a “putting in” and a “putting on” of Christ both by Himself and by us.

Once we are clothed with Christ, in one sense we all rather look alike — we look like Him. Yet, we each are dressed by and in Him in unique ways with particular talents or spiritual gifts. Just as Paul says, we are individual parts of the greater Body of Christ, each of value, each amazingly unique yet like Him.

Perhaps when we stand in front of the mirror, we ought to recognize that we can choose to take off the outer layers of Christ and stand ‘naked’ before the world; but we can’t take Christ out of ourselves and put Him back in the closet. He remains within us. He clothes us from the inside out.