For to me to live is Christ...
- Philippians 1.21
Today I gird myself/with the power of Christ's birth together with his baptism,/with the power of his crucifixion togther with his burial,/with the power of his resurrection together with his ascension,/with the power of his descent to pronounce the judgment of Doomsday.
- Anonymous, Faeth Fiada ("Patrick's Breastplate" - Irish, 8th century)
With what Gospel did you clothe yourself for this day?
Was it the Gospel of forgivenes and eternal life? Ah yes, what a wonderful gift and promise! But many who clothe themselves only in this aspect of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, while they may feel assured of salvation and hopeful of heaven, will not have the boldness to bear witness for Christ in a hostile age, or the resolution to bring holiness to completion in the fear of God.
After all, if our forgiveness is sure and eternity awaits us, why hazard any serious undertaking of a spiritual nature in the here and now?
Perhaps the Gospel you put on for today does not include the Good New about Christ's ascension into glory and His reign at the Father's right hand. This may help to explain why you are so little inclined to thank the Lord throughout the day for His many sustaining blessings, His continuous intercession on your behalf, and the way He fends off the enemy of your soul who would devour you in a moment but for the work of our ascended King and His angelic hosts.
Did you put on the Gospel of the return of Christ to judge the works of every man? No? It is this failure, no doubt, that allows you to rationalize away the "little sins", as you see them, that no one else knows about and "don't hurt anyone." You don't really believe that a day of painful purging of such wood, hay, and stubble is coming, so you do not prepare against that day a life of increasing holiness.
The writer of Faeth Fiada echoed the Celtic Christian practice of putting on the whole Gospel of Christ every day, and living in Christ and for His Gospel in every area of life. When we pick and choose which aspects of the Gospel we will embrace or serve on any given day, we make ourselves lord over Jesus, rather than submit to His Lordship for all of life.
It hardly needs to be mentioned that this is an act of supreme folly.
Do you believe the whole Gospel? Can you say, with Paul, that for you to live is Christ, in all His glorious, powerful, completed work?
Because if you are not wearing the whole Gospel every day, then you are clothed about with another gospel, not the one that tells the old, old story - the whole story - of Jesus and His love.
Put on the whole Gospel, beloved. Life is difficult and dangerous enough without playing fast and loose with the Lord of glory.
T. M. Moore, Principal