Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Put On Christ

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." (Rom. 13:14)

The book of Romans is one of the greatest books in all of the Bible. It is a well of great gospel-rich truths of what God has done for sinners through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is also practical for instructing us in our daily living as believers. One of those practical instructions is found in the verse mentioned above, a verse that Augustine, perhaps the greatest western theologian ever, read in 386 A.D. and was born-again on the spot. 

Paul writes for believers to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." This is a powerful metaphor for us to consider. Every day before we leave our homes we "put on" clothes, coats, jewelry, hats, and different items. Paul says we are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to put on Jesus like a garment. We are to consciously wear him as we go. We should consider ourselves naked until we have robed ourselves with him. But what does it mean to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ?"

First, it is to remind ourselves that it is his righteousness that clothes us with acceptance before God. In Christ alone, and his righteousness, are we pardoned before God and looked upon as holy. It is not our holiness or by our works, but totally his, that reconciles us before the Father. Reminding yourself that you belong to God, and are loved by Him, not because of your works, but because the works of Jesus for you, is a great way to begin each and every day. It is also a good hourly reminder as your day unfolds.

Second, it to remind ourselves that we must abide in him daily for power to overcome Satan, our flesh, and the temptations of this world. Jesus says in John 15 if we abide in him, and his word abides in us, we will bear much fruit. Apart from him we can do nothing. We put on Christ to remind ourselves that if we are ever detached from him, the Vine of God, we will wither and die. 

But Paul is not finished. After instructing us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," he adds, "and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." This is vital to catch. We begin by robing ourselves in Christ and his righteousness. Then we choke out the flesh, which naturally breeds and gives birth to sin. We war against the desires of the flesh, not by gratifying what it wants, but starving it out. By not making provisions for our flesh, we are choking out the fountain and source from which sin flows. What does it mean to "make no provisions for the flesh?" 

First, it is to minimize your exposure to things that would provoke or breed sinful desires. If you have struggles with lust, do not put yourself in situations where temptation to lust will be prominent. If the computer tempts you to engage in inappropriate material, then put filters on your computer. If you struggle with gossip, commit yourself to lead conversations wandering down the road of gossip toward other topics.

Second, it is to immediately confess and repent of sin when we recognize its existence in our lives. One of the ways that we quit making provisions for the flesh is when we recognize sin in our lives, we confess it before God, and we quit doing it. We repent. We stop engaging in it, and we turn to Christ for strength. 

This verse is a command, but it is written in as a metaphor for powerful effect. Paul wants us to see how to live our daily life in Christ. He instructs us to "put on Christ," remind yourself of the righteousness that is yours in the Son of God. He warns us to "make no provisions for the flesh, to gratify its sinful desires." This command instructs us to turn from those things which would lead us astray. Left to ourselves, we will wander into sin. We wear garments of flesh, and these garments want and crave sin. To suppress these garments, we must wear something over them. We put on Christ. We are to robe ourselves in the majesty of the King from Nazareth.

This is how a Christian daily prepares themselves to start the day. Resolve to never leave your house naked; put on Christ. 

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