“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:22-27
“So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:12-14
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:9-10
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another meekness, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14
The law was given to reveal to us that without a redeemer we are slaves of sin. The law had no capacity to give life to us but rather imprisoned us under sin. Having seen ourselves incapable of righteousness our failures lead us to search for a savior who is Jesus Christ. Our faith in his shed blood on the cross, to redeem our sins by placing them on Him, lead to us becoming sons of God and literally putting on Christ. “Putting on” in the original means to clothe ourselves with Christ. We literally wear Christ’s righteousness that he provided to us through our belief in Him.
The “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” in the Romans passage above is not a command here or in the parallel passage in Colossians 3:9-10 as the construction is not imperative. It is a fact that a believer is wearing Christ’s righteousness, the power to live a holy life, and when we sin it is something we choose to do and not something we are forced to do as when imprisoned under the law. This garment of righteousness is why there is now no condemnation for a believer (Romans 8:1) but what misery we allow ourselves when we fail to cast off the works of darkness which we now are empowered to do.
Let us wear our “armor of light” provided by Christ and make no provision for the flesh, forsaking unrighteousness which should have no hold on us and rather practice kindness, humility, meekness, patience, love, forgiveness and all the other wonderful works of righteousness that are our inheritance in Christ. Believers are sons of God, we should act like it.