Monday, 9 December 2013
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:14
We’ve come to the end of chapter 13 with a most beautiful prescription. Paul begins with “but.” This is to contrast what was stated in verse 12 where we are to, “cast off the works of darkness.” Instead of being clothed in such deeds, we are admonished to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” An exchange is to be made in our lives when we call on Christ. Salvation isn’t the end of the story, but the beginning of a new, beautiful one.
It may seem odd that we are to “put on” a person, but this was an idiom of Greek literature. To “put on” another means to take on his qualities, follow his principles, imitate his life and mannerisms, and walk in the same spirit as that person. It is an idiom of complete emulation of that person. And this is what Paul is asking of us; to adorn ourselves with the likeness of Christ. In so doing, we are to “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
The flesh, or the earthly human nature, is contrary to life in Christ. Instead of gratifying our old Adam, we are to be emulators of, and pleasing to, our new Master, Jesus. The manner in which He walked, we are to walk. The attitudes He displayed are to be displayed by us. He was meek, gentle, loving, and caring of those who were ignorantly lost in sin. At the same time, He was strong and aggressive against those who looked at their own self-righteousness and who denied that they were in need of God’s grace and mercy.
Those who see a weak and overly-tolerant Jesus completely miss how he handled the arrogant, proud, and boastful. Putting on Christ then is to put on the complete Christ. We are to be loving to those who need love, caring to those who are down and out, and meek with those who are humble. We are also to be stern and strong as we stand against those who promote perversion, divisiveness, arrogance, and a haughty, self-righteous attitude.
Life application: We are to put on Christ in all of His glory, standing firm against the deeds of darkness and the lusts of the flesh. In order to fulfill this, we must know how He acted and when He took action; we must know our Bible. Be sure to have a complete picture of who Jesus is.
Lord, it is right that I should follow You and endeavor to emulate You in all ways. When I face the needy, I am to extend an open hand. When I encounter the afflicted, I am to provide comfort. When I face the arrogant or self-righteous, I must stand against their haughtiness and be firm in promoting right morality. Help me to be balanced in my emulation of You. Amen.