"Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Romans 13:14)
What a marvelous notion that we can cloth ourselves with Christ in this present world. I John 4:17 says, "as he is, so are we in this world" ( I John 4:17 KJV ). We were made like Him the moment we received our born again spirit. It is the part of us that is identical to Christ. So Paul reminds us in today's passage to clothe ourselves with Christ, making no provision to indulge in the cravings of our physical nature and gratify the lust of our flesh.
Many believe that to do this we must deny ourselves and die again to the sin nature whenever it rears its ugly head in our lives. However, the sin nature has already been defeated through Christ Jesus, we have been freed from this nature once for all ( Romans 6: 6-7 ). So when the nature that we have been set free from tries to regain ground in our lives by enticing our fleshly desires, the key to overcoming this is to clothe ourselves with Christ and make no provision for those desires.
Romans 8 gives us insight on how to accomplish this in our lives, "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" ( Romans 8:5, Romans 8:6 ). By simply pursuing a life driven by the Spirit of God living on the inside of us, instead of succumbing to the physical soulish realm of our desires, we will look, live and be like Christ in this present world. Paul went on to say, "Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" ( Romans 8:12, Romans 8:13, Romans 8:14 ). When we clothe ourselves with Christ Jesus it is evident that we belong to him.
So what does Christ look like? Galatians 5 gives us incredible insight on Christ's characteristics and living by the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" ( Galatians 5:22-25 ). These things are currently in existence in our born again spirit. By living in accordance with the Spirit of God we will release this fruit to operate in our lives. It is possible to experience all of these things merely by seeking and following God and the Holy Spirit living within us.
This is the evidence that we belong to Christ. Paul instructs us to clothe ourselves with Christ so we will not be overcome by the desires of our old nature. "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law" ( Galatians 5:16-18 ). If you want to be free then live by the Spirit of God.
What an amazing truth this is. In God's brilliance, He has made it possible to live as we are called to live, as Christ's ambassadors representing Him in this world. This does not come out of our own works or trying to be the best we can be, but by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide, direct and change us into the glorious creation that God desires. May you understand this incredible truth today and start living in step with the Spirit of God.
Posted in Romans 13