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The Pauline Formula Induere Christum With Special Reference To The Works Of St. John Chrysostom by Saint John Chrysostom

As is evident from the first part of our investigation, there exists among commentators utter confusion concerning the meaning of the Pauline formula. In the present chapter we shall consult the writings of St. John Chrysostom, the greatest authority on exegesis in the early Greek Church, in the hope that he may throw some light on this obscure question. We shall examine in particular the two passages in his commentaries referring to the “induere Christum” in Rom. 13:14, and Gal. 3:27. We shall first take up his commentary on Rom. 13:14, which is contained in his XXIV Homily on this Epistle.

In Rom. 13:12, Paul tells us: “The night is passed and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the arms of light”—ἀποθώμεθα οὖν τὰ ἔργα τοῦ σκότους, ἐνδυσώμεθα δὲ τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός. The arms of light which we should put on, according to Chrysostom, produce a twofold effect in us: first, they place us in safety, because they are arms—ἐν ἀσφαλείᾳ σε καθίστησιν• ὅπλα γάρ ἑστι• Second, they make us radiant, because they are arms of light—καὶ καταλάμπεσθαι ποιεῖ• φωτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὅπλα. We should not be terrified because Paul speaks of arms; for we must indeed fight, but we need not endure hardships and fatigue. For, Chrysostom continues, this is not a war but a choral dance and a high festival. He concludes: Such is the nature (i.e., the power) of these arms, such the power of the leader—τοιαύτη τῶν ὅπλων τούτων ἡ φύσις, τοιαύτη ἡ τοῦ στρατηγοῦ δύναμις. Who is this leader? Evidently Christ, whose soldiers we are. It is interesting that our Doctor here refers the safety and splendor which the arms give us to Christ’s power.

According to the exegesis of Chrysostom, the arms of light are a superior force and power and. if we put them on or enter into them (ἐνδυσώμεθα), they produce a change in us and conform us to themselves; they give us safety and splendor. The expression ἐνδυσώμεθα δὲ τὰ ὅπλα must mean: let us enter under this power, let us give ourselves up to this power and consequently be changed by it and conformed to it. Later we shall see what Paul understands by “the arms” to which we should surrender ourselves.

In v. 13, Paul exhorts us to walk honestly, as in the day; thereupon he enumerates the principal works we should throw off. They are rioting and drunkenness, chambering and impurities, contention and envy. Chrysostom characterizes these sins as the bad garment—τὰ πονηρὰ ἱμάτια—of which we should strip ourselves.

But, he says, Paul was not satisfied to strip us (ἀποδύσας) of these garments; he wished thereupon to decorate us splendidly (καλλωπίζει). But what is this new decoration? Paul tells us in the remarkable words: ἀλλὰ ἐνδύσασθε τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν (v. 14).

The meaning of the words “induere Christum” Chrysostom sets forth by contrasting them with the “exuere” and with the “induere arma.”

a) The “exuere” of Paul in v. 12, refers to the κακία; but in speaking of this, says our Doctor, the Apostle mentions only deeds—ὅτε μὲν γὰρ περὶ τῆς κακίας ἔφησεν, ἔργα ἔλεγεν. These are the πονηρὰ ἱμάτια.

b) The “induere” of Paul, therefore, naturally refers to the ἀρετή in contrast to the κακία. Here, however, as Chrysostom explains, Paul mentions not deeds but, in the first place, arms—ὅτε δὲ περὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς οὐκέτι ἔργα ἀλλʼ ὅπλα. Thereby, he continues, the Apostle shows that virtue places him who possesses it in complete safety and complete splendor—δεικνὺς ὅτι ἐν πάσῃ ἀσφαλείᾳ καθίστησιν ἡ ἀρετὴ τὸν ἔχοντα αὐτὴν, καὶ ἐν πάσῃ λαμπρότητι. Thus we see that the ὅπλα in v. 12 is a metaphorical expression for ἀρετή. By this explanation of ὅπλα Chrysostom evidently characterizes virtue as a superior power; and, if we enter into it (ἐνδυσώμεθα), we are possessed of and changed by it; we are made perfectly safe and brilliant. Ἐνδυσώμεθα τὰ ὅπλα then means: let us give ourselves over to the power of virtue; the ἔχοντα simply expresses the fact of possession.

c) But, says Chrysostom, Paul does not pause here but passes on to something greater, something far more tremendous—ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ τὸ μεῖζον ἄγων τὸν λόγον, ὃ πολλῷ φρικωδέστερον ἦν. This tremendous mystery is expressed in the following words: αὐτὸν τὸν Δεσπότην δίδωσιν ἡμῖν ἱμάτιον, αὐτὸν τὸν βασιλέα—he gives us the Lord Himself as a garment; and he enforces this phrase by the words, the King Himself. The last words, it seems, are added to bring out in strong relief the contrast to the arms. We are the soldiers of Christ our King; but we “put on,” not only the arms of our King, but the King Himself. The expression ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν might at first sight seem to be a mere metaphor, especially since it is used in connection with the figurative phrase ἐνδυσώμεθα δὲ τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός. But Chrysostom does not regard it in this light. He tells us that the Apostle uses the phrase ἐνδυσώμεθα … τὰ ὅπλα in order to show more strikingly the effects produced by virtue; but the expression ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν is something greater, something far more awe-inspiring—πολλῷ φρικωδέστερον. It is something mysterious, which excites wonder and awe. Therefore it goes beyond the metaphor; and Chrysostom, instead of explaining that the words of Paul τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, stand for something else, tells us they stand for what they express, namely αὐτὸν τὸν Δεσπότην … αὐτὸν τὸν βασιλέα. Note how he emphasizes the reality by prefixing the αὐτὸν to Δεσπότην and to βασιλέα. He says in substance: Put on not only the arms of the King, i.e., virtue, but the Lord Himself, the King Himself.

The question is: What is the precise and full meaning of this phrase? The words ἐνδυσώμεθα δὲ τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός, as we have seen, mean, according to Chrysostom’s explanation: Let us give ourselves up to the power of virtue, which will effect that we have or possess virtue (τὸν ἔχοντα αὐτήν), and that, consequently, we are changed by it and conformed to it. By analogy we can infer the general meaning of the command ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν; viz., Give yourselves up to the power of Christ, so that you may possess Him and be changed by Him, and conformed to Him. Does this agree with Chrysostom’s exposition of the words?

Chrysostom first explains the effect this “induere” produces in us. As is evident from the context and the explanation of Chrysostom given above, the words ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν are intended by the Apostle to refer to the acquisition or practice of virtue. Therefore, Chrysostom, in his explanation, likewise refers to virtue. To the words, he gives us the Lord Himself for a garment, the King Himself, he adds: for he who has put Him on, possesses virtue in its entirety—Ὁ γὰρ τοῦτον περιβεβλημένος, ἅπασαν ἔχει καθόλου τὴν ἀρετήν.

The first effect of the “induere arma” is our having, or possessing virtue—τὸν ἔχοντα αὐτήν, i.e., ἀρετήν. But he who has put on (περιβεβλημένος) Christ, says Chrysostom, possesses not only virtue but absolutely all virtue—ἅπασαν ἔχει καθόλου τὴν ἀρετήν. It is remarkable that he so strongly emphasizes the completeness of virtue by the double modifier ἅπασαν and καθόλου. The phrase ἅπασα … καθόλου ἡ ἀρετή must be regarded as personified in Christ, since it can not be said of any Christian that he possesses absolutely all virtue. The phrase then turns out to mean: he has, possesses Him, who is ἅπασα καθόλου ἡ ἀρετή, who is the personification and source of absolutely all virtue. The conclusion is naturally implied: and Christ will produce virtue in him who has put Him on.

Chrysostom next explains the greatness of this mystery. He can not find words to express it. To put on Christ means, in the first place, to be completely surrounded by Him. He comments: But in saying Ἐνδύσασθε, he bids us put Him around us on all sides—πάντοθεν ἡμᾶς αὐτὸν περιβαλέσθαι κελεύεὶ. This, he continues, is equivalent to the expression of Paul in Rom. 8:10: But if Christ be in you—εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, and to his words in Eph. 3:16, 17, which Chrysostom quotes with a remarkable interpunctuation: That Christ may dwell in our inner man—εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπον κατοικῆσαι τὸν Χριστόν. This inner man is the soul; for, explains Chrysostom, he (Paul) wishes our soul to be a dwelling for Him (οἰκίαν αὐτῷ), and Him to be put about us as a garment—ὡς ἱμάτιον ἡμῖν αὐτὸν περικεῖσθαι.

The striking expressions which Chrysostom employs to explain the first effect of the “induere Christum,” emphasize the reality of our possession of Christ or, which is the same, Christ’s dwelling in us. Likewise, the “horrendum mysterium” of which Chrysostom speaks, excludes a figurative sense and points to this reality. Our real possession of Christ or His real indwelling in us, as it is described by Chrysostom, implies the mystic union of the creature with Christ, its Lord and King.

Next, Chrysostom tells us the purpose of Christ’s indwelling in us. Paul wishes Christ to be in us and about us, in order that He may be unto us all things, both from within and from without—ἵνα πάντα αὐτὸς ἡμῖν ἦ ἔσωθεν καὶ ἔξωθεν. This last phrase implies that we are to give ourselves up wholly to the possession and power of Christ; we are to be perfectly subject to Him and to live only for Him; so that He, as our Lord and King, may rule and dominate our whole being. Christ is, therefore, here regarded as a superior power. If we enter into Him, He exercises His power over us by really uniting Himself to us, so that He can dominate our whole being. Ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν then means nothing else than give yourselves up to the possession and power of Christ, that He may exercise His power over you by uniting you to Himself in a real, mystic union and dominate your whole being. This meaning will become clearer as we proceed.

After explaining the first effect of the “induere,” Chrysostom describes in detail how Christ exercises His power in us, how He seeks to unite Himself to us most intimately in order to be our all,—in order to dominate us wholly.

To this end he enumerates all the titles he can think of which can be applied to Christ to express His relation of dominion to His followers. For, he says, He is our fulness (πλήρωμα),—way, husband, bridegroom, root, drink, meat, life, apostle, high priest, teacher, father, brother, joint heir, sharer of the tomb and cross, suppliant, advocate to the Father, house, inhabitant, friend, foundation, cornerstone. Then he adds the titles which show our relation to Christ and which again point to His dominion over us. We are His members and heritage and building and branches and fellow workers. Although he has enumerated all the titles he can, still he feels he has not fully expressed the truth contained in this mystery. He, therefore, asks: What is there that He does not wish to be to us, since He binds and unites us to Him in every way? This, he adds, is characteristic of one who loves exceedingly—Τί γὰρ οὐ βούλεται ἡμῖν εἶναι, παντὶ τρόπῳ συγκολλῶν καὶ συνάπτων ἡμᾶς; ὅπερ τοῦ σφόδρα φιλοῦντός ἐστι.

The mutual relations between Christ and us, which are enumerated above, not only express our intimate union with Christ, but imply also His power and dominion over us and our characteristic of being His property. At the end of this passage, Chrysostom expressly tells us that Christ seeks to be our all by uniting and joining us to Him in every way. This uniting of us to Him, of course, presupposes the power and dominion of Christ over us, His property. Here then we have again the principal elements of the “horrendum mysterium,” possession of us as His property and His actual dominion over us and our consequent real union with Him. But the mystery includes still more. Although Christ, as our Lord and King, has power and dominion over us, still the motive that guides Him in its exercise is His exceeding love for us. It is for this reason that He exercises His power by uniting us to Him in every way—παντὶ τρόπῳ συγκολλῶν καὶ συνάπτων ἡμᾶς; ὅπερ τοῦ σφόδρα φιλοῦτός ἐοτι.

Chrysostom continues his exposition thus: Obey then and, rousing thyself from sleep, put Him on (ἔνδυσαι αὐτόν), and when thou hast put Him on give up thy flesh to His bridle—καὶ ἐνδυσάμενος εὐήνιον αὐτῷ πάρεχε τὴν σάρκα. For this is what Paul intimates when he says, “Make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.” The putting on of Christ here includes the subjection also of our flesh (body) to the power of Christ. Finally, after mentioning various vices that excite our lust, Chrysostom concludes: But thou, having put on Christ and thereby renounced all those things, seek only one thing, namely, to have a healthy body—Ἀλλʼ ὁ τὸν Χριστὸν ἐνδεδυμένος σὺ, πάντα ἐκεῖνα περικόψας, ἓν ζήτει μόνον, ὅπως ὑγιαίνουσαν ἔχῃς τὴν σάρκα.

According to Chrysostom’s explanation given in the first half of the XXIV Homily on the Epistle to the Romans, the phrase ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν means:

a) Give yourselves up to the possession and dominion of Christ, who is your possessor as you are His property.

b) This power Christ exercises over you out of love; consequently

c) You are united to Him in every way; so that

d) He dwells actually in you and

e) Dominates your whole being, even your body.

Of the phrase εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, which was cited by Chrysostom to show that the “induere Christum” effects the real indwelling of Christ in us, we find a wonderful exposition in the XIII Homily on the Epistle to the Romans. In this passage, Chrysostom emphasizes the reality of Christ’s indwelling in us and of His taking possession of us. According to Chrysostom, the indwelling of Christ in us is implied by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. But the reality of the indwelling of the latter he stresses again and again by repeating the word ἔχειν. We have, possess, the Spirit; i.e., the Spirit dwells in us in reality. A striking description of the reality of this possession of the Spirit is given in the following words: Do not fear when you hear me speak of mortification (νέκρωσιν); for you possess the life really, which no death will deprive you of; for this is the life of the Spirit. The Πνεῦμα here according to the context, is the third ὑπόστασις of the Τρίας.—Ἔχεις γὰρ τὴν ὄντως ζωὴν, ἢν οὐδεὶς διαδέξεται θάνατος. Τοιαύτη γὰρ ἡ τοῦ Πνεύματος. Chrysostom further describes the power and dominion of the Spirit over death: He utterly destroys death, and preserves immortal what He receives—Ἀναλίσκει θάνατον καὶ δαπανᾶ, καὶ ὅπερ ἔλαβεν, ἀθάνατον διατηρεῖ. To have the Spirit in us, therefore, means to be His property and to be subject to His power.

But Paul says not only, “If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you”; (Rom. 8:9) but also, “If Christ be in you.” (v. 10) This does not mean, Chrysostom says, that the Πνεῦμα is Christ (as is frequently the case in the early patristic literature); but that he who possesses the Spirit οὐ μόνον τοῦ Χριστοῦ χρηματίζει, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτὸν ἔχει τὸν Χριστόν; i.e., not only officially wears the title of Christ, but possesses Christ Himself. Christ’s indwelling in us or our possession of Him follows from the Spirit’s indwelling; it must be, therefore, real and actual, like the latter. For, says Chrysostom, it is impossible that the Spirit is present and not Christ—οὐ γὰρ ἔστι Πνεύματος παρόντος, μὴ καὶ Χριστὸν παρεῖναι; because, wherever one of the ὑπόσταις of the Trinity is, there is the whole Trinity—πᾶσα παρέστιν ἡ Τρίας.

In this passage, then, is emphasized the reality of Christ’s indwelling in us or our possession of Him, which according to Chrysostom is the effect of the “induere Christum.” But he shows still more clearly that Christ’s indwelling in us implies also His dominion and control over us. Among the evils that come from not possessing the Holy Spirit,—ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ἔχειν Πνεῦμα ἅγιον—he mentions τὸ μὴ εἶναι ὡς χρὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὸ μὴ ἔχειν αὐτὸν ἔνοικον—the not belonging to Christ, as is proper, and the not having Him indwelling. On the other hand, among the blessings that come from possessing the Spirit—ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος ἔχειν—he enumerates τὸ Χριστοῦ εἶναι, τὸ αὐτὸν ἔχειν τὸν Χριστὸν, τὸ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις ἁμιλλᾶσθαι— the belonging to Christ, the possessing of Christ, the vying with the angels. It seems that Chrysostom regards the τὸ Χριστοῦ εἶναι and the τὸ αὐτὸν ἔχειν τὸν Χριστὸν as belonging together; the former being the cause of the latter. Τὸ Χριστοῦ εἶναι, however, means to be His property and to be subject to His power, so that we live for Him and He dominates us, as St. Paul says, Rom. 14:8: “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s”—τοῦ κυρίου ἐσμέν. He continues, v. 9: “For to this end Christ died and rose again that he might dominate both the dead and the living”—ἵνα καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ ζώντων κυριεύσῃ. Here Chrysostom exclaims: Behold the absolute domination! behold the insuperable power!—Εἶδες δεσποτείαν ἐπιτεταμένην. Εἶδες ἰσχὺν ἄμαχον.

Towards the end of the XXIV Homily on the Epistle to the Romans, the “induere Christum” is again explained; especially its effects are again emphasized with wonderful force and clearness and further developed. Here Chrysostom exhorts his readers to put on Christ in order to avoid all the vices he has just mentioned. That we may escape from all these (things), let us put on Christ—τὸν Χριστὸν ἐνδυσώμεθα, and be with Him continually—καὶ μετʼ αὐτοῦ διηνεκῦς ὦμεν. Evidently these last words, which express a lasting union, are an explanation of the preceding τὸν Χριστὸν ἐνδυσώμεθα, and must stand in relation to it as the effect to the cause. In this passage, Christ is without doubt regarded as a power who can and will afford us protection, provided we put Him on and thereby become united to Him. The τόν Χριστὸν ἐνδυσώμεθα, therefore, must mean: Let us enter into the power of Christ, let us become the property of Christ and give ourselves up to His power. In the passage before us, then, we have expressed:

a) The surrender to the power of Christ—τὸν Χριστὸν ἐνδυσώμεθα, which has as its immediate effect

b) A lasting union with Christ—καὶ μετʼ αὐτοῦ διηνεκῶς ὦμεν; and as a further effect

c) The protection against the evils—ἵνʼ οὖν ταῦτα διαφύγωμεν ἅπαντα. This exposition is highly illuminating and interesting.

Chrysostom immediately tells us expressly that the lasting union is included in the “induere.” He says: ἐπεὶ καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν ἐνδύσασθαι, τὸ μηδέποτε αὐτοῦ ἀπολειφθῆναι.—For this is the meaning of “to have put Him on,” never to be separated from Him. But he emphasizes in the same sentence another effect of the “induere”: τὸ πάντοθεν αὐτὸν φαίνεσθαι ἐν ἡμῖν,—to exhibit Him always in us. These words express the visibility of Christ in us. He should be visible in us. We should really be what Christ is; we should be other Christs.

This visibility of Christ in us is evidently an effect of the “induere.” From this we must conclude that the lasting union, too, is an effect of the “induere,” for the two clauses are parallel. Through the union with Christ, which is the effect of the “induere Christum,” the visibility of Christ in us is produced. Moreover, since this visibility is the effect of the “induere,” it says more than mere imitation, it implies rather an assimilation to Christ.

But we may ask in what respect Christ should be visible in us. Since many things can be predicated of Him, the context or the circumstances must determine in each case the nature and the extent of this representation or assimilation. We have said that Pauls exhortation, ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν, in Rom. 13:14, refers to the acquisition or practice of virtue; and it is in this sense that Chrysostom explains the Apostle’s words. He tells us that Christ should be visible in us through our sanctity and through our moderation—διὰ τῆς ἁγιωσύνης ἡμῶν, διὰ τῆς ἐπιεικείας. In other words, the holiness and the moderation that are Christ’s should be likewise ours; we should be other Christs in holiness and moderation.

According to this important passage of Chrysostom, ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν means

a) To surrender oneself to the power of Christ, and consequently

b) To be united with Him permanently, and thereby

c) To be conformed to Him, in Rom. 13:14, in regard to holiness and moderation, and thus

d) To be protected against the vices, the virtues totally supplanting them.

If we compare this passage with the explanation given of “induere Christum” in the first part of this homily, we note:

a) According to both passages, “induere Christum” means

α) To give ourselves up to the possession and power of Christ, to become His property.

β) Christ exercises His power over us, uniting us to Himself intimately and permanently.

b) In the first part of the homily, Chrysostom emphasizes that the exercise of this power is owing to Christ’s love.

c) In the second part of the homily, he adds a further effect of the “induere,” namely, our conformity with Christ.

It is of great interest and importance that Chrysostom illustrates the meaning of the Pauline formula by a popular proverb. After the explanation of the “induere Christum” given above, Chrysostom continues: Οὕτω καὶ ἐπὶ φίλων λέγομεν, Ὁ δεῖνα τὸν δεῖνα ἐνεδύσατο, τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην λέγοντες καὶ τὴν ἀδιάλειπτον συνουσίαν. So we say of friends, such a one has put on such another, meaning their great love and constant intercourse; for—so he continues—he who has put on seems to be that which he has put on—ὁ γὰρ ἐνδυσάμενος, ἐκεῖνο φαίνεται, ὅπερ ἐνδέδυται.

Considering the meaning given above of ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν, the phrase ὁ δεῖνα τὸν δεῖνα ἐνεδύσατο, when used of friends, should mean that the one gives himself up to the influence of the other and consequently becomes really his property and is both united and conformed to him. Chrysostom, however, says that the phrase expresses the strong love and the constant intercourse of friends. At first sight, it may seem that these two explanations are at variance; but they harmonize perfectly. The proverb clearly contains the three principal elements of the phrase ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν, surrender to the influence of another, union, and conformity.

a) Love or friendship naturally moves a person to give himself up to the influence of his friend, so as to become his property. The influence which the latter exercises likewise is owing to his love for the former. This love and the consequent influence of the one friend over the other result in

b) Real union of the friends, and

c) Assimilation or conformity of the one to the other, so that the one is visible in the other and may be called his “alter ego.” In answer to the question, in what respect one is visible in the other, we may say that the words of Chrysostom show,—and in common parlance the circumstances will indicate,—that the conformity effected by this ἐνδύεσθαι is to be understood as a conformity in thoughts, sentiments, and even exterior habits. This second effect is included in the first and is also expressly stated by Chrysostom when he adds the ground of analogy of this proverb: For he who has put on (someone or something) appears to be that which he has put on. It is clear from this explanation that the ἐνδύεσθαι in this proverb means, to become the possession of another, to give oneself up to his power and control. Moreover, this proverb is especially well adapted to illustrate and confirm the meaning of ἐνδυέοθαι Χριστόν, since it both emphasizes the reality of our union with Christ and shows again that He exercises His power over us out of love.

The meaning of the proverb ὁ δεῖνα τὸν δεῖνα ἐνεδύσατο and consequently also of the phrase ἐνδύεσθαι … Χριστόν finds a remarkable confirmation in the XIII Homily of Chrysostom on the Epistle to the Ephesians. In a moral exhortation, which he subjoins to his interpretation of St. Paul’s words: “And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:24), he urges his hearers to put on the garment of justice and never to put it off. To strengthen his exhortation he adds that “to put on” means nothing else than never to put off—Τὸ δὲ, ἐνδύσασθαι, οὐδὲν ἄλλο δηλοῖ, ἢ τὸ μηδέποτε ἀποθέσθαι. In order to prove his statement, he cites two texts of the Psalmist, who speaks of man as having put on a curse as a garment—Ἐνεδύσατο κατάραν ὡς ἱμάτιον, καὶ ἥξει αὐτῷ (Ps. 109:18), and of God as having put on light as a garment—καὶ πάλιν, Ὁ περιβαλλόμενος φῶς ὡς ἱμάτιον (Ps. 103:2). To these texts he adds: καὶ πάλιν ἡμῖν ἔθος λέγειν ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, Ὁ δεῖνα τὸν δεῖνα ἐνεδύσατο. He gives no further explanation of this phrase, but simply draws the conclusion that we should always be arrayed in virtue.

But of the text in Ps. 109:18, which he quotes here as having the same meaning of ἐνδύεσθαι as our proverb, we find a further exposition in his homily on this psalm. There he shows that the phrase, “he put on a curse as a garment” implies, not only a permanent union, but, in the first place, the power and control of the curse over man, its property. In verse 18, we read: “And he put on a curse as a garment, and it went in like water into his entrails, and like oil in his bones.” By these words, says Chrysostom, the Psalmist indicates the strength of the blow (τὸ σφοδρὸν τῆς πληγῆς) and the permanence of the punishment (τὸ μόνιμον τῆς τιμωρίας), thereby showing that evils come to all men from themselves (οἴκοθεν) and from their own will (παρὰ τῆς οικείας γνώμης), because by their deeds and actions they repel the blessings and cast themselves headlong upon the punishments—ταῖς δὲ τιμωρίαις ἑαυτοὺς ἐπεμβάλλουσι. This phrase shows that the words “he put on a curse,” means, he of his own accord surrendered himself to the power of the curse, he became its property.

In v. 19 of the same psalm, the idea of man’s surrender to the curse is further developed. We read: “May it be unto him like a garment which covereth him: and like a girdle with which he is girded continually.” In explaining these words, Chrysostom emphasizes still more the control and domination of the curse over the sinner. According to him, the Psalmist wishes to say: Thus will the evils possess and control them (καθέξει) that they will have no change: but they will be fastened in them (the sinners) and will remain firm, i.e., the sinners will remain accursed—ὃ δὲ λέγει τοῦτό ἐστιν• Οὕτως αὐτοὺς τὰ κακὰ καθέξει, ὡς μηδὲ μεταβολήν τινα σχεῖν• ἀλλʼ ἐναποστηριχθήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ μενεῖ βέβαια. These words confirm the meaning given above of ἐνδύεσθαι; for they plainly show that this word expresses the surrender to the possession and control of another person or thing and consequently a permanent union and assimilation to the former.

After this digression, let us return to Chrysostom’s explanation of ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν. Having explained the meaning and the effects of the Pauline formula by the proverb, he concludes: Let then Christ be seen in every part of us—Φαινέθω τοίνυν πάντοθεν ἐν ἡμῖν ὁ Χριστός. The holiness and the moderation, through which, as he said above, Christ should be visible in us, should show themselves in deeds similar to those of Christ. Therefore, to his own question, how He should be seen (πῶς φανεῖται) he answers, If thou doest His deeds—Ἀν τὰ ἐκείνου ποιῆς. Therefore, he exhorts them to imitate the example of Christ (τοῦτο καὶ σὺ ζήλωσον), which he then describes.

Conclusion and Summary

According to St. John Chrysostom, ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν =

1. To surrender ourselves to the possession and dominion of Christ, to become the property and possession of Christ, who out of love for us exercises His power over us by

2. Uniting us most intimately to Himself. This union is

a) permanent “ex parte Christi,”

b) real, above all. This is the “horrendum mysterium,” that, in consequence of our surrender to Him, He out of love really dwells in us and consequently really dominates our being by

3. Conforming us to Him. This conformity, as the context of St. Paul’s ἐνδύσασθε … Χριστόν and Chrysostom’s explicit explanation shows, refers here to the acquisition and practice of virtue. We should be other Christs by our holiness and moderation. Christ, who is absolutely all virtue, will help produce this effect in us.

4. This meaning of ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν is illustrated and confirmed by a popular proverb which has essentially the same meaning as the Pauline formula: to surrender to the influence of another, to become the property of another, who exercises his influence out of love; union and conformity are the effects.

5. The expression ἐνδύεσθαί τινα was quite common at least in the later κοινὴ διάλεκτος, and its meaning was well known to all.

6. According to Chrysostom, St. Paul wrote his formula in the current understanding of the common phrase ἐνδύεσθαί τινα.

It need not surprise us that Chrysostom does not say in express words ἐνδύεσθαι = to give oneself up to the power, to become the property, of some one or some thing. For the use of the expression was so common that its most elemental and essential idea was clear as daylight to all. Therefore, he explains chiefly its effects, which differ somewhat according to the circumstances in which the phrase is used and according to the nature of the person or the thing that is the object of the ἐνδύεσθαι. But from this explanation we can not escape the conclusion that the fundamental meaning of the term, according to Chrysostom, is, to become the property of, to give oneself up to the possession and dominion of another person or thing.

In Chrysostom’s commentary on Gal. 3:27, we have, not only a most emphatic confirmation of the explanation of ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν given in his exposition of Rom. 13:14, but a still more striking explanation of the problem and in addition the all-important and distinct reference to Baptism as the historical fact by which the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν is effected in the life of the Christian.

In Gal. 3:26, we read: “For you are all children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.” In these words, says Chrysostom, Paul pronounces a great and wonderful truth—μέγα εἶπε καὶ θαυμαστόν; and in the following verse, he explains the manner in which they became sons of God—λέγει καὶ τὸν τρόπον τῆς υἱοθεσίας. He quotes the words: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”—Ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε. Then he raises the question, why we have here the expression Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε and not the words ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐγεννήθητε—have been begotten of God. For, he adds, the latter expression is better adapted to convey the idea that they are sons of God—τὸ γὰρ ἀκόλουθον τοῦ δειξαι υἱοὺς τοῦτο ἦν. He answers in the remarkable words: Ὅτι πολὺ φρικωδέστερον αὐτὸ τίθησιν. The words, you have been begotten of God, would indeed prove some kind of divine sonship of the Galatians; but Paul uses the expression Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε in order to express this truth in a far more awe-inspiring way.

Here we have the same word as in his exposition of the ἐνδύσασθαι—Χριστόν in Rom. 13:14. The word φρικωδέστερον in both passages expresses the awe (horrendum) of the mystery. The words ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν, therefore, contain for Chrysostom far more of the awful and mysterious than the phrase “to be begotten of God,” which would seem to be awful and mysterious enough. This again points to something more extraordinary, something far beyond the limits of anything yet heard of. What is it?

Chrysostom immediately describes the tremendous mystery: Εἰ γὰρ ὁ Χριστὸς Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, σὺ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐνδέδυσαι, τὸν Υἱὸν ἕχων ἐν ἑαυτῷ καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀφομοιωθεὶς, εἰς μίαν συγγένειαν καὶ μίαν ἰδέαν ἤχθης. For, if Christ is the Son of God, and thou hast put Him on, then thou, who hast the Son within thee and hast been made like unto Him, hast been brought into one relationship and one nature with Him.

This is a striking explanation of the “horrendum mysterium,” Χριοτὸν ἐνεδύσασθε. In this one sentence, we have the fundamental idea of the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν indicated and its marvelous effects clearly described. We shall begin with the latter.

The putting on of Christ (εἰ … σὺ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐνδέδυσαι) effects in us:

a) The possessing of the Son of God in us—τὸν Υἱὸν ἔχων ἐν ἑαυτῷ, or in other words the indwelling of Him in us, which, of course, implies a most intimate and real union with Christ. Being united with us, Christ

b) Conforms us to Himself—καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀφομοιωθεὶς; we become other Christs. And Chrysostom immediately adds in what respect we are conformed to Christ, in what respect we are other Christs. Here again he determines the nature of our conformity with Christ which is effected by the ἐνδύεσθαι, in accordance with the context of Paul, who wishes to show that the Galatians are sons of God. Therefore, Chrysostom adds, εἰς μίαν συγγένειαν καὶ μίαν ἰδέαν ἤχθης. Thou hast been brought into one relationship and one nature with Him.

But these blessings come to us only if we have first put on Christ—εἰ … σὺ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐνδέδυσαι. In what does the act of the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν which takes place in Baptism, consist? It is not expressly stated, but it can be easily inferred. Evidently here again Christ is regarded as a superior power, yes, as the highest power, the Son of God (εἰ γὰρ ὁ Χριστὸς Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ), who has dominion over us and exercises it by uniting us to Him and conforming us to Him, making us sons of God on condition that we have put Him on—εἰ … σὺ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐνδέδυσαι. The ἐνδύεσθαι itself here can only mean to give oneself up to the power of Christ, to become His possession and to pass under His power by Baptism and consequently to partake of His nature.

Here then we have precisely the same explanation of the Pauline formula as in Chrysostom’s commentary on Rom. 13:14, with the exception that in this case our conformity with Christ is explained, not as an assimilation of Christ’s virtues, but as a participation of His nature. In both cases, the nature of the conformity is determined by the context of the phrase.

Commenting on the following verse of the Epistle (Gal. 3:28), Chrysostom, not only emphatically repeats and elucidates our participation in Christ’s nature, but adds a further effect thereof; namely, that we are all one in Christ—the Christians by Baptism become the possession of Christ so completely that they are all one in Christ. After quoting the words of St. Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”—πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ιησοῦ—Chrysostom exclaims in admiration of the mystery: Dost thou see the insatiable soul?—Εἶδες ψυχὴν ἀκόρεστον. He then explains the ground for his admiration: Paul was not content with pronouncing the great and wonderful truth: we are made children of God by faith, but he tries to find something more exact to show with greater clearness our closer oneness with Christ—τὴν ἐγγυτέραν πρὸς τὸν Χριστὸν ἕνωσιν.

Here we have the emphatic statement that the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν spells a more intimate union with Christ than the “being born of God.”

But Chrysostom continues: And when he has said αὐτὸν ἐνεδύσασθε, he is not even content with this expression; but he explains it and penetrates more deeply into this union—ἐνδοτέρω πρόεισι τῆς τοιαύτης συναφείας, saying: You are all one in Christ Jesus; i.e., you all have one nature, one image, namely that of Christ—μίαν μορφὴν, ἕνα τύπον ἔχετε πάντες τὸν τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

As is undoubtedly proved by H. Schumacher, the word μορφή in St. Paul and the Greek Fathers means the nature of a thing. In this passage μορφή can mean only the divine nature of Christ, for the participation in His human nature is had prior to the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν and is no “horrendum mysterium.”

After declaring that we have received the nature and the image of Christ, the Son of God, Chrysostom, filled with wonder and awe at the greatness of this mystery, exclaims: What can be more awful (φρικωδέστερον) than these words? And he explains again what he understands by this “horrendum mysterium.” He that was a Greek and a Jew and a slave before, now goes about having the nature, not of an angel or archangel, but of the Lord of all, and showing forth Christ in himself—ἀλλʼ αὐτοῦ τοῦ πάντων Δεσπότου τὴν μορφὴν ἔχων περιέρχεται, καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ δεικνὺς τὸν Χριστόν. In other words, man, by putting on Christ in Baptism, becomes another Christ; he receives the nature of Christ, the Son of God and Lord of all; he becomes a son of God. This, however, is not mere figurative language, but it is a “horrendum mysterium,” which points to an awful reality.

In the following verse (Gal. 3:29), Paul shows that ἐνδύεσθαι means to become Christ’s property, to come into His possession and power. For he says, “If you are Christ’s—εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.” Χριστοῦ is here the “genetivus possessionis” and expresses possession. But nowhere in the context does Paul say that the Galatians are Christ’s property, but merely that they “put on Christ.” The εἷναι Χριστοῦ then must follow from the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν, which can only mean, to become Christ’s property, to come into His possession and under His power.

It is of the utmost importance to note that the ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν, as here explained, takes place, according to Paul’s express words, in Baptism. When we are baptized into Christ, he says, we become His property; we pass into His possession and under His dominion; and He exercises His power over us by giving us His μορφή.

According to St. John Chryostom, as we have noted above, the words Χριστόν ἐνεδύσασθε express a more awful mystery than the expression ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐγεννήθητε. We shall be able to understand this mystery better if we compare with the exegesis given of it above Chrysostom’s explanation of our birth from God. In his commentary on the words of St. John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, He gave them the power to be made sons of God,” he gives a clear exposition of this grand truth; by our birth from God, he tells us, we receive the nature of God and (the impression of) His image.

First, by a long enumeration, he emphasizes the fact that all, regardless of their national or individual characteristics, were made worthy of the same honor. Then he specifies the nature of this honor and mentions at the same time its cause. For the faith, he says, and the grace of the Spirit having taken away the inequality arising from worldly honors, shaped all into one nature—εἰς μίαν ἅπαντες ἔπλασε μορφήν and molded all into the one image of the King—εἰς ἕνα ἀνετύπωσε χαρακτῆρα τον βασιλικόν.

In the following passage, he tells us that to receive the μορφή and χαρακτήρ of the King means to be born of God, to be made His sons. To show more clearly the excellence of the benefit we have received and the goodness of God in bestowing it on us, he contrasts God with an earthly king, who deems it beneath his dignity to have slaves as his soldiers; but, he continues, the only begotten Son of God did not disdain to enrol publicans and magi and slaves and the most ignoble of all men,—even many who are bodily crippled and mutilated,—in the ranks of His sons—εἰς τὸν τῶν τέκνων καταλέξαι χορόν.

The enrolment in the ranks of sons of God,—the receiving of the μορφή and χαρακτήρ of the King,—is not an empty and meaningless ceremony. It is not merely an external adoption, but an adoption that spells a deep and wondrous internal change in man. The nature of this change Chrysostom describes by means of a comparison and he mentions also the historic fact by which it takes place. As the nature of fire, he says, directly it comes in contact with mineral ore, immediately changes the ore into gold; in like manner, but in a far greater degree, does Baptism make those who are washed golden instead of earthen, for the Spirit at that time comes into our souls and consumes the image (εἰκόνα) of earth and restores the image (εἰκόνα) of heaven cast anew and brilliant and glittering, as it were, from the smelting furnace.

This whole passage shows what a sublime truth our birth from God is. Elsewhere Chrysostom expressly calls it a great and sublime truth (δόγμα), and its sublime character makes it a mystery. No one, he declares, can explain the manner of that wonderful generation that takes place through Baptism. Although the expression “to be born of God” contains a grand and awful mystery, still, says Chrysostom, the words, Χριστόν ἐνεδύσασθε, express something even more awful and mysterious. What is it? Both phrases, as we have seen, mean that we receive the μορφή of Christ; we become sons of God. In so far then the phrases are synonymous and equally mysterious. But the words Χριστόν ἐνεδύσασθε contain an additional truth not expressed in the phrase ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐγεννήθητε—it is the greater oneness (ἐγγυτέρα ἕνωσις) with Christ, which is the effect of our being completely the property and possession of Christ and consists in our actual possession of Christ or His real indwelling in us (τὸν Υἱὸν ἔχων ἐν ἑαυτῷ). Herein consists the more awful mystery.

Conclusion and Summary

Summarizing the results of the explanation of ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν in Gal. 3:27, we note:

1. The “induere Christum” takes place in Baptism.

2. It is a “horrendum mysterium,” which was said already in the exposition of Rom. 13:14.

3. This phrase expresses a more awful mystery than the words “to be born of God.”

4. The “induere Christum” =

a) to give oneself up to the possession and power of Christ, to become the property of Christ, in consequence of which

b) He unites the Christian most intimately with Himself by dwelling in him,

c) He conforms the Christian to Himself by communicating to him His μορφή, by making him the son of God; therefore

d) All Christians become Christ’s possession so completely that they are made εἷς in Christ; all have His μορφή.

5. What makes the Χριστόν ἐνεδύσασθε more awful and mysterious than the ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐγεννήθητε, is the greater oneness—ἐγγυτέρα ἕνωσις—it effects, which is the result of our being completely the property of Christ and consists in our actually possessing Him or His real indwelling in us.

6. The expositions of ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν in Gal. 3:27, and in Rom. 13:14, are identical, except:

a) In Gal. 3:27, Baptism is expressly mentioned as the historical fact by which the ἐνδύεσθαι is effected.

b) In Rom. 13:14, love is emphasized as the reason for Christ’s exercise of power over us, who are His possession.

c) In Rom. 13:14, the conformity with Christ, which is the effect of the ἐνδύεσθαι, regards the virtues of Christ; the Christians should be other Christs by the assimilation of His virtues, Christ should be visible in their deeds.

d) In Gal. 3:27, the conformity regards the nature of Christ; the Christians are other Christs by the participation of Christ’s divine nature; they show Christ in their nature. In both cases the nature of the conformity with Christ is determined by the context in which the phrase, ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν is used.








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