Putting On the Lord Jesus Christ

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. Rom. 13:13, 14

Even now, let us walk as in the day!

Even now, while the day is not yet, while the night, though far spent, still lingers, and the day, though at hand, still tarries.

Let us walk as in the day, that day, the day of Christ!

For, of that day the apostle had been writing to the Church in the immediately preceding verses; of the day of salvation, of final salvation, and, therefore, the day of the perfect realization of the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, when sin, whether conceived as guilt or as corruption, shall be no more; when death shall be completely swallowed up of life; when the darkness shall be forever dissipated by the light of God in Christ; the day of heavenly glory and fellowship and knowledge, when we shall see Him face to face, and shall know even as we are known. . . .

That day is near!

Its break is the next event!

And the hope of that day must dominate the Christian’s life, even as he is still walking through the night of this present world. He must put off his night garments, the works of darkness, and put on the arms of light.

He must make no provision for the flesh, to satisfy the lusts thereof, in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness, in strife and envying. But he must put on the Lord Jesus Christ! For, this is the indispensable condition for a walk as in the day!

As in that day!

Strange exhortation!

Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!

What, pray, just what does the Word of God here enjoin upon us? And how may it be accomplished?

Scripture, indeed, uses the expression “put on” frequently. We are admonished to “put off” the old man, and to “put on” the new man; to “put off” the works of darkness, and to “put on” the arms of light. And the meaning is, evidently, that, on the one hand, we shall so oppose, resist, fight the operations, the motions of our sinful flesh, that they have no dominion over us, that they are vanquished, that they do not control our mind and will and desires and find no expression in our actual walk and conversation; and, on the other hand, that we so live and walk from the inmost principle of the renewal of our heart, that by it all our thoughts and desires, all our outward life and conversation, are directed. If we “put on” the new man, the regenerated heart comes to manifestation in our whole life.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ as Lord, as your Lord! Jesus Christ as we know Him from the Scriptures, as the Son of God come into the flesh; as the One that was delivered for our transgressions and raised for our justification; as the One that ascended up on high, leading captivity captive, and is seated at the right hand of God, angels and principalities and powers being subject unto Him; as the One that is the revelation of the God of our salvation, full of grace and truth, that overcame the power of guilt and sin and death, that obtained for us redemption through His precious blood, righteousness, the adoption unto children, the right to eternal life; Who by the power of His Spirit delivers us from the dominion of sin, sets us free, quickens us with the life of His own resurrection, cleanses our hearts, enlightens our mind, changes our will, instructs us in the knowledge of the Father, fills us with all spiritual graces, faith, hope, love, righteousness, holiness, truth, meekness, humility, mercy, patience. . . .

Put Him on!

Put Him on, the Lord Jesus Christ, in all the power of His redemption and liberation, in all the fullness of His grace and truth; so that His mind may direct your every thought, His will may dominate your every desire, His grace may express itself and become manifest in every word you speak, every step you take, every deed you perform; and in all your outward walk and conversation the Lord Jesus Christ becomes revealed in all the beauty of His grace; so that you follow in His steps and in an increasing measure resemble Him as He is revealed in the Scriptures, His glorious image is reflected in your life.

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Think Him; will Him; desire Him; be like Him; speak as He spoke; act as He acted in relation to God, to men, to all things!

Put Him on, not, indeed, as you don a garment, a mere outward covering. To put on Christ is not a mere external imitation of Him. Thus, indeed, the modern exponent of Christianity would have it. Not understanding the terrible reality of the corruption of sin, nor giving heed to the “word of the cross,” and to the power of His resurrection; having no knowledge of the redeeming and liberating power of His grace, he makes of the Savior a mere example, Whose instruction, especially as contained in the Sermon on the Mount, one must heed, Whose life he must imitate, in Whose steps he must follow, and all will be well. . . .

Sad delusion!

What else could be the result of such a vain and proud attempt of sinful man, dead through trespasses and sins, to imitate the Son of God in the flesh, to follow in the steps of Him who knew no sin, than a mere outward show, abominable in the sight of God, Who demands truth in the inward parts?

But the apostle is addressing the Church, redeemed from the guilt of sin by the blood of Jesus Christ her Lord, renewed in heart by the Spirit of Christ. And by that Spirit Christ Himself dwells in the hearts of the believers, imparts Himself to them, His life, His righteousness, His truth, His holiness, the riches of all His grace. And so they taste His love and they love Him. And from within, from the recesses of their inmost heart, where Christ wrought His likeness, they desire to cause that likeness of their Lord to shine forth in their life and walk.

Through the grace of Christ within, they put on Christ in all their conversation.

Their own salvation they work out, for God it is that works in them to will and to do of His good pleasure.

They put Him on!

For, through the Spirit, by faith, through love, earnestly desiring to be like Him, they contemplate Him, gaze at Him with delight as He is revealed to them in the Scriptures.

Even the ungodly become like the vanities they gaze at with delight. The flesh creates its own objects of delight to satisfy its lust, objects of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And they gaze at them with inner delight, and rejoice in them, because they are like them. And the more they contemplate these vanities, the more they become like them in all the manifestation of their life and conversation. . . .

Thus the believer gazes at the Lord Jesus Christ.

He beholds Him by faith in all the beauty of His grace.

And beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, He is changed from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord!

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Put Him on, day by day, by a continual battle of faith.

Till the day dawn! The day of Christ!

When we shall be perfect in His likeness.

Marvelous grace!

Walk as in the day!

And make no provision for the flesh!

A somewhat strange and, at the same time, very humiliating characterization of our sinful nature and its tendency.

One, to be sure, makes provision for his needs. He is hungry and provides food to satisfy his hunger; he is thirsty and provides drink to quench his thirst; he is naked and provides garments to cover his nakedness; he is cold and provides fuel to drive away the cold; he needs a home and provides a dwelling place. Many are his needs and he makes provision to fulfill them.

But the flesh has no needs,—it has lusts!

For, the flesh here is, as frequently, to be understood in the figurative sense as referring to our sinful nature. That sinful nature with its evil motions, operations, inclinations, tendencies, is called flesh, not because sin is physical, or because matter as such is necessarily evil, or because evil has its source in the body, but because it is in and through the flesh, through the body and its organs, that sin realizes itself and becomes manifest in actual life. Sin is transgression of the law and proceeds from the heart, the mind, the will, the emotions and desires; but it finds its ready instrument in the body, in the lustful eye and vain ear and lying mouth, the gluttonous appetite, the craving belly, the foul instruments of fornication and adultery. . . .

The flesh!

The whole of our carnal nature, motivated by enmity against God and minding death!

And that flesh has no needs, for itself has no business to be! Needs are created, but the flesh is the product of corruption; needs are legitimate, but all that is of the flesh is illegitimate.

But it has lusts!

Evil cravings!

There is in that flesh the coarser lust that makes of the belly a god, gluttony, drunkenness, and rioting; there is the love of sensual pleasure and amusement, the love of what is immoral, unclean, filthy; there is greed, covetousness, the love of money and possessions, the miserly lust after the things of this earth for their own sake; there are the finer, but no less corrupt lusts of pride and haughtiness, the desire for the honor and glory of men; of ambition and lust after power and greatness; the lust of malice and hatred and envy. . . .

The flesh!

A filthy source of corrupt and vile motions!

Impelled by the evil force of enmity against God!

Our flesh!

For, even though the believer is redeemed, and in principle, in his deepest heart, also liberated from the dominion of sin by grace, so that he is become a new man; yet he is still in the flesh. And although the lusts of the flesh no longer have their source in his deepest heart, in which Christ dwells by His Spirit, although they are motions and tendencies caused rather by the old ruts in the roadbed of his nature left by the vehicle of his life when it moved in the direction of sin, ruts that were cut already in that roadbed of his nature before he was born, and that were deepened even rather than erased; yet these motions and tendencies, these lusts of the flesh are there, and they are a matter of experience for every child of God. And they are rather accentuated and become more pronounced in their operations because of the presence and dominion of grace in the heart of the believer.

And these lusts clamor for satisfaction!

They appeal to your person; they stand at the door of your heart loudly demanding recognition; they present themselves to your mind, they steal into your desires, they plead with your will. And aided by the “world” and its lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes and pride of life, they try to persuade your inmost heart to make provision for their fulfillment!

So does the world.

It makes provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof!

Even as the hungry makes provision for the satisfaction of his hunger, and the thirsty to quench his thirst, so the ungodly makes provision for the satisfaction of the lusts of the flesh. The covetous provides means to satisfy his greed; the sensual makes provision to indulge in his vile passion and voluptuousness; the pleasure-loving provides for himself places and occasions of amusement; the ambitious provides for himself positions of power and glory; the proud seeks the honor of men. . . .

And the results are rioting and drunkenness, the one usually accompanying the other, because the drunken man loses his sense of propriety, becomes silly and boisterous, hilarious and revelrous; chambering and wantonness, acts of adultery and fornication, carnality and shameless sexuality; strife and envying, sins of the mind and heart, self-exaltation, pride, disagreement, dissension, hatred, war. . . .

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof!

Deny these lusts; oppose them; fight them; silence their clamor!

And let rather the grace of the Lord Jesus become manifest in all your walk and conversation.

Walk as in the day!

Walk “honestly.”

Your “walk” is your entire life in the midst of the world from the viewpoint of its spiritual-ethical direction.

It implies your outward life as determined by your inward condition, your willing and thinking and aspiring, your emotions and inclinations, your seeing and hearing, your speaking and acting, personally and in every relation of life, in the home, in the church, in the world. And always that life moves in a certain direction, after God or contrary to Him, in harmony with His will or in conflict with it, toward God or away from Him.

Walk “honestly.”

The word “honestly” hardly conveys to us anymore the denotation of the original word. It signifies: elegantly, shapely, gracefully, becomingly. To walk as in the day, in truth and righteousness and holiness, with the law of God in your inmost heart and the praise of God on your lips, with the image of the Lord Jesus Christ reflected in all your conversation,—that is graceful, beautiful, elegant, becoming. For, man was made after the image of God. He was created in truth, in righteousness, in holiness, a prophet, priest, king of God, His friend and servant. To walk in the light of the truth, to seek righteousness, to be holy as He is holy, therefore, is beautiful in itself and becoming to man.

Walk, then, elegantly, gracefully, becomingly as in the day!

As in that day, the day of Christ, as if the day had already dawned!

Dominated by the things that are above!

For, the night is far spent!

The day is at hand!