Yesterday Pastor Bronner related a story about Billy Graham’s 90th birthday party. Graham had bought a new suit for the occasion, because his children thought he had been dressing somewhat slovenly lately. So he purchased a new suit. But he would wear the suit only for two occasions, his 90th birthday and his funeral.
Come to think of it, I have two suits in my closet that I rarely wear, and I really don’t need two suits for my funeral.
Clothes do wear out. However, St. Paul reminds the early believers that they are wearing a suit which will never wear out. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Putting on Christ is more than an external covering that makes us look nice for a while until we get home and change into our everyday clothes. Our new suit, Christ, donned in baptism is our everyday clothes. This new suit of baptism becomes our whole self. To the Ephesians he wrote, “Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” This is another way of saying, “Clothes makes the person.”
Putting on Christ gives us a new suit to wear at every birthday until the day we wear it at the moment of our death. Then we will be among those, according to John’s vision in Rev. 7:9, “clothed in white robes” who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”