“Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
— Romans 13:14 (NRSV)
We are all born slovenly creatures; we nibble at the breast, sucking for our lives, and develop through to basic mobility and communication from very little other than sleeping, eating, and excreting. The early pre-school years are tarnished by selfishness, and through our childhoods and teenage years egocentricity becomes more or less ours. As adults, we present as mature when the going is good, yet as soon as results turn south we are back in our wounded child states in a flicker.
Our flesh is weak and given to all sorts of unhealthy desires, not the least of which is laziness. We want to control the world, time, our environment, even our relationships.
But life never works when the flesh has free reign. When we virulently take in life, life takes from us and we are comprehensively hurt to the point we often don’t recover as we should.
But an opportunity lies open for us...
The Opportunity of a Living Salvation
Now the opportunity is near; the presence of salvation has come. And though we may be ‘saved’ (that is my assumption of the reader) we often don’t live saved. We are rather controlled by our sin; at least one or two sins, or a bunch of them, cling to us.
Paul invites us to wake up, to lay aside the works of darkness.
Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ is also about putting on the armour of light; living honourably: being of patient and sober judgment, having control over our sexual desires, including respecting other people’s sexuality, and not getting involved in dissension and jealousy, but celebrating others’ successes.
Living our salvation is about living as if the ultimate salvation had already come. And though we live in the now-but-not-yet time, we have every spiritual possession to put on the armour of light in making no provision for the flesh, so as not to gratify its desires.
Notice how putting on the armour of light—putting on the Lord Jesus Christ—is entirely relational. Every one of the sins that Paul highlights in Romans 13:11-14 (revelry, drunkenness, debauchery, licentiousness, quarrelling, and jealousy) has serious relational impact when they are deployed. They cause others harm.
If we can go about respectfully, considering others’ instantaneous needs, each as they present, making the effort we need to in communicating with care, we have surely put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we have been saved from the cost of our sin, but we rarely live saved from revelling in our sin. Ours is the opportunity—for the Day of the Lord is near—to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us endeavour to live as if that Final Day had already come. Let us put on the Armour of Light.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.