Text: Romans 13:14: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.– King James Version But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts - New King James Version Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. - New International Version But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. - English Standard Version
Last year, the Lord called our attention to understanding the times and seasons of life like the Sons of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32) and this year, the Lord is not only calling for our attention to be mindful of the times we are but to also live a life that reveals the glory of God at this end time through the Jesus Christ in us. To do this, we are called to put on Jesus Christ as the spiritual clothing that covers us, protects us from the world, and makes us presentable to both God and people.
One can tell a lot about people from the clothes they wear. The clothes that we choose to wear often reflect our status, our values, and even our priorities. At Hollywood red carpet events reporters often ask actors and actresses "Who are you wearing?" to find out which designer created the clothes they are wearing. In the ancient world, clothing had a similar significance. It could reflect a person s socioeconomic status, mood, or even character.
The New Testament uses clothing imagery to describe three different, but closely related, aspects of our relationship with God. First, it emphasizes our union with Christ which happens at our conversion. In Galatians, 3:26-27 Paul writes that "in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Therefore, everyone who has committed their life to Christ by faith has the status of having "put on Christ."
Second, clothing imagery vividly portrays the transformation that results from our relationship with Jesus Christ. In contrast to living a life of disobedience to God and his ways (Rom 13:13), Paul instructs believers to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom 13:14). Sometimes the command is to "put on" certain godly characteristics that are a reflection of Christ himself: "Put on then, as God s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (Col 3:12). Thus, the call to "put on" these godly characteristics is rooted in our status as those who are holy, chosen and loved by God.
Third, clothing imagery describes the transformation of our bodies that will take place when we are resurrected from the dead. Paul explains that "this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality" (1 Cor 15:53). In the meantime, as we await that day, "we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Cor 5:2-4).
This is the admonition of the Apostle- Put on the Lord Jesus Christ when you get up in the morning. Make Him a part of your life that day. Intend that He go with you everywhere you go and that He acts through you in everything you do. Depend on His resources. Live your life in Him.
Exegesis of the passage- Romans 13-
Among stars that differ from the other stars in glory are the epistles of Paul the Apostle, epistle to the Romans is one of his distinct works. Romans Chapter 13 speaks of directions for our behaviour as members of civil society, in the sense that as Christians, we are not only related to God but also to our fellow Christians. While we are not of the world, we live in the world and we are also part of the human society. We are related to the government of our nation and we must obey and support it.
Christians have been called out of this world (John 15:18 and 17:14), but they still have responsibilities to the state. The best citizen ought to be a Christian citizen. Though the church is not to get involved in the evils going on in politics, individual believers certainly should use their God-given privileges as citizens to see to it that the best leaders are elected and the best laws are enacted and enforced justly. When we think of godly leaders like Joseph, Daniel, and Esther, who were able to exercise spiritual ministries in pagan governments, we can see what the Spirit can do through the dedicated believer.
This is what Apostle Paul further expressed that one way to shine as light in the world is by our obedience to law and order in the land, showing good examples in all things lawful. The whole passage can be put into three major lessons namely;
Meanwhile, our major text of discourse (vs 14), opens our eyes to what is expedient for us to put on and what we must not make provision for, that is, "The LORD Jesus and the flesh respectively".
The amplified version of the Bible put our text this way... "But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts)".
In the preceding verses, Paul had encouraged the saints to “wake from sleep” (Romans 13:11) and “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light” (verse 12). Paul here paints a vivid picture of journeying from an old life into the new life in Christ, and giving away the darkness brought by the night for the light is of the day.
Putting on the Lord Jesus is a metaphorical expression used in the Bible that means to become like Jesus Christ in our thoughts, actions, and character. It implies a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, where we live according to His teachings and follow His examples. It is a lifelong experience that requires commitment, discipline, and a desire to grow spiritually. We seek to become more like Jesus Christ and yearn to experience His peace, joy, and love in our lives. As believers, we must not only wake up and throw off our night (old) clothes, we must get dressed in the appropriate outfit for the new day. Our “old clothes” were the deeds of darkness (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21), the proper new daytime attire is God s armour of light and evidences of His Spirit in us (Ephesians 6:11–18, Gal. 5:22-23).
One of the major reasons why we must deny the flesh of its desires is that "the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8): To live a life that attracts God s blessings, please God in thought, word and deed is impossible with the flesh. The flesh in its desires speaks volume of what is pleasurable to it, which is totally at loggerheads with the will of God. Permit me to say that, the flesh has many ways through which it voices its desires day by day, that we have been born again and spirit filled does not stop the voice of the flesh not to speak within us, obedience to the voice of flesh is the root of unrighteousness and ability to overcome the flesh is constantly leveraging on the leadership of the Holy Spirit (ever appearing in our new clothe "Jesus Christ"). The flesh will continue to speak to everyone, but the Grace to ever overcome is given by Jesus (John 1:12, 16).
To put on Christ, mean the following:
Putting on the Godly characteristics of Jesus: If our spiritual clothing is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, then we are to remove our sinful, worldly characteristics and change them for the godly characteristics of Jesus. These include the fruit of the Holy Spirit who dwells with us. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.”. Additionally, Colossians 3:12-15 says, “Therefore, God s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. As we put on our spiritual clothing, we put on the righteousness of Christ, for justification. We put on the Spirit and grace of Christ, for sanctification. Then we give him access to every part of our lives and allow him to rule and reign in our hearts.
To put on the New Nature of Christ: Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ provides us with a new nature. Paul paints a vivid picture of moving into the new life in Christ as trading the darkness of night for the light of day. As believers, we are called to become like Christ in Character, attitudes, and behaviour. It involves surrendering one s desires and self-centeredness and instead seeking to live in obedience to God s will and to love others as Christ loved us. We are to live in a way that reflects the Character and teachings of Christ, relying on His strength and guidance to do so. This involves a continuous process of growth and transformation, as we seek to become more like Christ and live out His love and grace in our daily lives.
The expression put on Christ occurs again in Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (ESV). And in our text-Romans 13:13-14 Paul instructs us, “Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.” In these verses, putting on Christ speaks of having clothed oneself with the new nature; believers are taught “to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). We put on Christ when our old ways are nailed to the cross and we wear the grace and forgiveness of Jesus as a glorious garment for the entire world to see.
To be transformed into the image of Christ (Discipleship): To put on Christ means to follow Him in discipleship, letting our lives be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). Rather than adapting ourselves to the pattern of this world, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and the modification of our behaviour into the model of Christ s life on earth (Romans 12:2). This change requires putting off the old self and putting on the new throughout the Christian life (Ephesians 4:22–24; Colossians 3:12). To achieve this transformation, we rely wholly on our righteous standing before God made possible in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
To put on the Lord Jesus Christ is to abide in Him: Putting on Christ means abiding in Jesus and living to please Him. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Just as branches can only bear fruit if they abide in the vine, so the only way believers can glorify the Father through fruitful lives is by abiding in Jesus.
The vine is Jesus, while we (believers, disciples) are the branches. And God is the vinedresser (John 15:1) – that is the gardener who tends the branches. He prunes the fruitful branches so they will bear more fruit (John 15:2), and takes away the unfruitful branches, throwing them into the fire (John 15:2, 6). The unfruitful branches appear to be nominal disciples: people who outwardly follow Jesus for a time, but fail to bear fruit. The fruit we are called to bear includes both the fruit of transformed character (i.e. “the fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23) and fruitfulness in evangelism as we bear witness to Jesus and his work. When we abide in Jesus, we are connected to him, dependent upon Him, and continue in Him.
Because Jesus is the vine, He provides us with a life-giving connection to him. A branch is connected to the vine, and a vine to the branch. This is what theologians frequently describe as “union with Christ.” Notice that this connection, this union, is mutual. We abide in him and he abides in us (John 15:4). If there is no connection, there is no life, no fruit.
This aspect of abiding is a call to total dependency. The branch is dependent on the vine, but the vine is not dependent on the branch. The branch derives its life and power from the vine. Without the vine, the branch is useless, lifeless, and powerless. Sap flows from the vine to the branch, supplying it with water, minerals, and nutrients that make it grow. And believers receive the “sap” of Christ s grace through our life-giving connection to him. We are completely dependent upon Jesus for everything that counts as spiritual fruit (John 15:4). Apart from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
To put on Christ means to practice Forgiveness like Christ: To forgive like Christ means to let go of anger, resentment, and the desire for revenge, and to extend compassion and understanding to those who have wronged us. Colossians 3:13 instructs us: “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Go ahead. Let go of that burden of bitterness and resentment. Christ forgave those who persecuted him and even prayed for their forgiveness while on the cross. He taught his followers to forgive others and to love their enemies. Christ also showed that forgiveness is not just about letting go of anger and resentment, but also about actively seeking reconciliation and restoring broken relationships. This is a call for wives to forgive their husbands, husbands to forgive their wives, and children to forgive their parents. It is a timely call to let go of the offence and embrace the peace of Christ.
To put on Christ means to always give God all the glory (Acts 14:11-15): putting on the Lord Jesus means giving Him all the glory. We are not to share His glory. We must keep Him at the centre of all we do. When He works in and through our lives, we must be ready to give Him the credit. When we mess up and fail, let s give Him the broken pieces trusting that He will know how to use it all for His glory. In all things and at all times, be quick to give Him praise.
To put on Christ is to Spend time with Jesus: Have you noticed how couples begin to resemble one another the longer they’re married? Well, the same is true of us. The more time we spend in intimate fellowship with Jesus, the more His likeness will be transferred to our lives. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13. It is a way of nurturing one s spiritual life and seeking to align one s will with God s will that is, Spending time in prayer, reading the Bible, and seeking to deepen one s relationship with God. Some people find it helpful to set aside a specific time each day for prayer and Bible reading, also cultivating a constant awareness of God s presence throughout the day.
In addition to prayer and Bible reading, spending time with God also involves other spiritual practices such as worship, meditation, and fasting. These practices help to deepen one s connection with God and open oneself up to His guidance and wisdom. Ultimately, the goal of spending time with God is to cultivate a deeper relationship with Him and to grow in faith, love, and obedience to His will. It is a lifelong journey of growth and transformation, as we seek to become more like Christ and live out His love in the world around us.
How do we put on Christ?
There are two words for repentance in the Bible-the Greek word and the Hebrew word: The Greek word is- (Metanoia) means- ‘to change your mind’ or ‘a change of mind’. The Hebrew word is- (Sub) means –‘to turn around and go in the complete opposite direction’
These two meanings connote the reality that-
Obedience is the true worship God wants from us- Romans 12:1; Matt 7:21. Obedience is our way of showing God that we love Him-John 14:23.Your level of love for God is your level of obedience to him. It is the demonstration of our faith in Him-You cannot obey God beyond your faith level. Obedience can be tough-it means following God s leading when we are not sure of the outcome. His will sometimes can be nonsensical. Our choice to obey God demonstrates our trust in God. Obedience is not easy-Think of Abraham, Noah, Joshua- Heb 11; Enoch Gen 5:22. God rewards obedience- Abraham- Gen 22:18; Peter (Luke 5:1-10). Not the hearer but the doer is blessed- James 1:22-25; Luke 11:28. Obedience is better than Sacrifice- 1 Samuel 15:22-23
3 Through Spiritual discipline:-1 Cor. 9:26-27-our spiritual life is like a muscle that has to be trained and worked daily, just like any physical training. The spiritual disciplines are a set of activities that you can do to practically train yourself for godliness. As we practice spiritual disciplines, day by day the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened (Ephesians 1:18). Examples of spiritual disciplines are as follow:
Singing worship songs is a powerful way to express one s love for God and connect with His presence. Many worship songs are based on Scripture and can help to reinforce biblical truths and encourage spiritual growth. While watching godly movies is a helpful practice for spiritual growth. Movies that are based on biblical stories or that promote Christian values provide inspiration and encouragement. They can also offer opportunities for reflection and discussion with others.
SOME ESSENTIAL CONDITIONS TO PUT ON CHRIST
willing heart. Isaiah 1:19
deliberate in doing what we must do to glorify God in our lives. We must be ready to say NO to some things and say Yes to other things without looking back. Titus 2:15
Until you value God in your heart, you will not give Him attention in your life.
Dangers of not putting on Christ?
Lukewarmness hurts the church more than coldness does. It is a dangerous one – in Titus 1:16 Paul defined them as -They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. For instance -No one points to a godless pagan person and say I cannot become a Christian because of him but people have always pointed at half-hearted members of the church and said why should I become a Christian? I am as good as they are even better. We might have been satisfied with our spiritual lukewarmness but the Lord is not. Such was the condition of the Laodicea church. We make Christ sick when the church is lukewarm unless we repent.
These characteristics are in contrast to real Christians. Being real Christians means we take the things of God seriously and we seek to follow Christ and His teaching. We must make a clear difference in the things in us. Matthew 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me
A believer who has not been crucified in the flesh has the tendency of being controlled and brought into submission by it. The flesh desires to be proud, magnified and conceited, but the spirit desires us to be humble-minded. The flesh desires to indulge in immorality but the spirit desires that we are chaste. The flesh desires to be malicious, crafty, deceptive and hypocritical, but the spirit desires to be truthful and straightforward in all dealings.
This is the reason for Apostle Paul s injunction “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh: (Galatians 5:16). The Apostle became concerned about the Galatians because some individuals had come to them with erroneous teachings, telling them to go in the way of the flesh. Paul s concern proves that no matter the spiritual height a believer attains, there is a need to constantly subdue the flesh in order to overcome. So, may we who are believers strive to please our heavenly Father out of gratitude for dying a horrible death on the cross for all who will believe and receive the salvation He offers freely. And let us remind everyone that this most important of all things to do is limited to life on earth. Once anyone dies, his opportunity to “Get right with God” and be saved is forever lost. The only way to overcome this is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and shield our hearts, minds and souls with the living word of God and then remain in obedience to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The call to put on Christ is a call to try our best to cooperate with God as He works to make us more like Christ.
In life, there are things you can delegate in order to achieve but the issue of putting on the Lord Jesus is a non-transferrable role every Christian must do on a daily basis. You need to wake up daily dressing yourself up for success. Life is a task that must be done.
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