September 5, 2014

Superhero Theology II: The Cape of Our Hero

Ephesians 4:22-24 ~ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

What is this passage telling us theologically? Here Paul is discussing unity and maturity in the Body of Christ. These specific instructions fall under a category that should be considered instructions for proper Christian living. Paul is using the idea of clothing or garments here and for him it is literally a matter of taking off the old man and putting on the new like a piece of clothing. We are to take off or put off old ways of thinking and doing. It is an issue of mindset, heart set and philosophy of life. By ridding ourselves of the old body which is death and putting on new life. Having done this the innermost man has taken a step to be renewed (Romans 12:1-2).

Old “habits” are laid aside never to be purposely or habitually pursued again. In their place we put on something even more powerful and life producing: Christ. Before we can put on our new garment or nature though we must remove the old one. The old decrepit and diseased spiritual man is replaced with a powerful and vigorous one. The new man conforms to the image of the superman Christ. It is as if we actually put on His cape (**). Our sins are atoned for and covered by the crimson blood-stained cape of our divine hero…Jesus Christ. 

From a theological point of view this passage is critical as it shows the true nature and image of God. It was an image which man was created to be like. We were originally created holy and righteous by God but fell in Original Sin. It is clear we need to divest the old sinful self or old life and put on the new man in Christ. In this way we sort of put on the suit or cape of our hero. Christ is indeed a superman or superhuman because He overcame sin, death, Hell and the grave. He did so in a supernatural manner through the power of the Spirit.

So the new man that we take on is essentially more human than human. It is us with God’s Spirit inside. Because of the garment we put on as Paul alludes to here, we become much more that we could’ve been without it. When we take on Christ’s garment, covering or atonement…we become what we were originally created to be…righteous in God’s eyes. In this way, through His Son, God makes all believers super.

(**) Please understand when I say cape I am using the word cape as a metonymy. The cape is symbolic of Jesus' blood which itself is symbolic of His life. Just as His blood "covers" so too a cape physically can over us in a symbolic manner. It's just a clever use of words and ideas.

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