To be a follower of Christ means to be like Jesus as much as possible in everyday life. Paul said, “Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy” (Rom 13:13).
We are to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 4:22–-24).
All believers who “[are] baptized [lit. “put into, immersed in”] into Christ have [been] clothed with Christ” (Gal 3:27). God graciously clothes us with the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor 1:30; Rom 3:22). Because our salvation is secure through justification and the gift of His righteousness by faith, Paul exhorts us to continue to live up to the standing He has given us.
One writer described it this way: “Any athlete may don the uniform and take the name of a championship team, but it is his performance, not his team’s uniform or name, that determines his value as a player.” (John F. MacArthur Jr., Romans 9–16, 17:268.) Our value to Christ and the quality of our belief are determined by our obedience to His word and our influence on others to follow Christ.
After “putting on” Jesus Christ, the believer is to put off sin by making “no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.” The word provision means to take no “forethought or planning ahead.” James said, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it brings birth to sin” (James 1:14–-15).
Most people do not stumble into sin but “plan to do evil” (Prov 24:8). David described the process when “transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes . . . He plans wickedness upon his bed; he sets himself on a path that is not good; he does not despise evil” (Psa 36:1, 4).
The “provision” for sin begins in our hearts and minds, which are influenced by the desires of our “flesh.” If we fill our minds with God’s thoughts, we do not give our flesh the chance to tempt us to evil. Let’s allow the word to root sin out of our hearts.
“Thank You, Lord, for living within me. Help me never to embarrass You with my thoughts or desires. I don’t even want to think about sinning against Your word.”
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