So here is a detail I am sure to miss on Sunday morning: clothing.
The following Galatians reference was used in my sermon on Sunday, January 29 - a sermon simply entitled "Three Ways:"
Galatians 3: 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under atutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
The image was clear enough to the early Christians, for it was not uncommon to come out of the baptismal waters and receive a white robe. It's a great image - but so much more can be said.
I myself am not super passionately into clothes (perhaps you disagree). I try my best, but every now and then you'll see me with a shirt untucked or possibly . . . just possibly . . . wearing a shirt with a small stain (may it never be!). The stain of course goes unnoticed by me until someone tells me about it. And then . . . then . . . I wear the shirt again (after it's clean of course) with a sweatshirt over it. (Shh . . . don't tell Kristy). Oh well . . . the point is that I'm not going to win any "best dressed" awards. Nevertheless, there is another "best dressed" award I'm into - the best dressed award in our coming paradise. Let me explain:
The clothing image used in Galatians 3:27 is Paul's way of telling us who we really are. Are you familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15? Remember what happens when the son comes home?
Luke 15:20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
Clothing image - it's powerful. Those of us who come to God (those of us who return to God) receive the clothes of honor, but we can't see them right now - why? Because the Robe that's Coming is the Robe that's Coming. In other words, it comes at the end - after we've endured. God sees us now with white robes (we have clothed ourselves with Christ - Galatians 3:27), but we don't see them until we've finally arrived with the saints in the Kingdom to Come.
Revelation 6,11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
And don't forget the crown:
Thanks to Allison Krauss for reminding us in song: