My oldest child is Samuel. He is 9. My wife, Rachel, and I adopted him just a few days after his 3rd birthday. Samuel spent the first 3 years of his life in an orphanage in Ukraine. Part of the process of adopting in Ukraine is that we had to stay there in country for a little over a month to process all the paper work and meet with the government officials, etc etc. But this long process was a good thing because it meant we got to spend a lot of time going to the orphanage and spend time with Samuel.
As we spent more time with him, one of the things that really struck us was his clothing. Of course we knew that he was an orphan so it wasn’t like we were expecting him to be decked out everyday in new clothes from Gap Kids. But we also didn’t expect him to be dressed in the same, soiled, food drenched, tethered, stinky sweater every day. Of the 30 days that we visited him before taking him home, we can remember maybe 2 times when he wasn’t dressed in that sweater.
But then the adoption day came. When we showed up to the orphanage on November 25, 2005, we brought with us new clothes. That day everything changed for Samuel. He got a new name, a new inheritance, a new home, new clothes…a new identity.
Scripture tells us that upon our faith in Christ we become adopted children of God (Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:14-17), and that He in turn clothes us in new clothes, namely His righteousness. We become new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and take upon a new identity much in the same way that Samuel did. The old has gone, the new has come.
Furthermore, Ephesians 4:20-24 tells us something pretty profound along these lines. The apostle Paul instructs the believer to, “take off the old self, which belongs to your former way of life…and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”. This language of taking off and putting on is strikingly poignant in how it calls to mind the imagery of taking off old, nasty, pungent, and soiled clothes in order to put on our fresh, white, clean, and soft new clothes.
And much in the same way that we get dressed at the beginning of each new day, this exercise of putting on our new self is a daily task.
So, believer in Jesus, which will it be for you today? Will you live in light of who you are in Christ? Will you put on your new self? Will you live in your new identity as an adopted child of the King and let Him clothe you in his splendor and righteousness? Or will you, although adopted and made new, choose to live like your old self and crawl back to the orphanage and your old clothes?