“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Romans 13:14, ESV
Some verses are like this. When the Holy Spirit touches it, it will expand and broaden out into a theological treatise. It is remarkably potent as verses go. We certainly do well examining it closer. Just maybe it will leak good things on us.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” entails becoming someone else. More precisely, it has to do with becoming Jesus to the watching world. We are to so absorb him that our identity changes. Paul tells us that this is a deliberate act of our will; a decisive decision to clothe ourselves with Jesus.
This goes beyond what we consider to be the Christian faith. In some of our churches we seldom hear this message being taught. It seems radical and we don’t understand the ‘mechanism’ by which we do it. It reminds me of Nicodemus struggling with becoming “born again” (John 3:1-14). Sometimes spiritual truths defy human reasoning.
“And make no provision for the flesh,” is the second part of this principle. Both have to be working to complete the idea. If we ‘put on,’ but continue to provide for our flesh, the verse simply will not work. It’s a ‘binary’ action that requires activation of both at the same time.
The Greek word Paul uses for “provision’‘ is real nifty. It means “to consider in advance; to plan for or supply ahead of time; to think beforehand.” This zeroes in on our exceptional ‘talent’ in giving in to sin. We somehow gravitate to our particular favorite sins. There is a ‘magnetic pull’ toward dark things.
This binary only works if these two truths come together. We must ‘put on’ Christ, and then ‘put off’ our evil deeds. I believe that these two things constitute the intentions of the Holy Spirit for our growth. Dear saint, what are you wearing?
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”