In my experience, Paul’s frequent admonition, “Become What You Are” is one of the most maddening principles in the Christian life.
It’s the age-old struggle between works and grace (aka the push-pull of life). On the one hand, we are to “let go and let God”(cf. Colossians 3: “Let the peace of Christ control our hearts…Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Then, in the same breath, Paul asks us to “Put on…kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (cf. 3:12).
Fortunately, we stand on the shoulders of 2000 years of Christian tradition and remember….
God’s gift precedes His invitation to become perfect.
“We love because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19). When you open up God’s gift of new life, you discover God’s impossible demands. The stringent requirements of the four thousand plus religions will never open up the door to eternal life. Accessing the demands of Christian life is possible only through repentance and baptism (cf. Acts 2:37; 4:12).
Like everything else in Christianity, it is paradoxical and causes grief inside and outside of God’s kingdom. Skeptics enjoy pointing out the gulf between Christianity’s ideal and our sketchy practice. It’s the job of every Christian to repair the gulf.
Paul asks us to be clothed with Christ. As chosen and holy people, our grace wardrobe includes five pieces of clothing:
1) Compassion (cf. “bowels of mercy” Matthew 6:34)
2) Kindness (cf. “Taste and see the Lord is kind” Psalm 34:8)
3) Humility (cf. “Jesus gentle and humble heart” Matthew 11:29)
4) Patience (cf. God’s divine name Exodus 13:4)
5) Forgiving (cf. “Forgive as Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32)
Guess What? We wear the same clothes as God
Is that good news or bad news?