We come now to our last installment of how believers are motivated to righteous living; because this is who we are. In our new identity as holy and beloved saints, righteous living is what is expected of us. It is what should come natural to us. It fits who we really are.
In Romans chapter 6, the apostle Paul answers the question, “If greater sin brings greater grace, should we continue in sin?” with an emphatic “No”. And Paul’s “No” is based on our new identity in Christ. The apostle takes the rest of chapter 6 to explain. When you became a believer, you appropriated the fact – and it is a fact – that your old sin nature died with Christ on the cross. Your sin nature is dead. In its place, you have received a righteous new nature infused with the righteous nature of Christ Himself. Therefore, consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Sin is no longer your master, and your members are no longer instruments of sin, but instruments of righteousness. (Rom 6:1-13).
Paul often uses the analogy of putting on new clothes to represent putting on the new nature. “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh and its desires” (Rom 13:14). When we “clothe” ourselves with the nature of Christ, there is no longer room in the closet for the “desires of the flesh”, those clothes that no longer fit. “Make no provision” means don’t make any space in your closet for those old clothes of sin to still be hanging around.
Suppose you woke up tomorrow morning 20 pounds lighter than you were when you went to bed, and the clothes in your closet no longer fit you. You would dash to the nearest premium outlet mall and scour the sale racks and come home with a completely new wardrobe. What would you do with your old clothes? You would give them away or throw them out, but in either case they would be gone. Why? Because they no longer fit. Now you might be tempted to keep some things with the idea that if you gain the weight back you will need something to wear. That is a fine thought in the natural world. But in our analogy of the Christian life, you will never gain the weight back. You will never need the old clothes.
You have been forever changed and the old sin clothes will never fit you again. Do you see the picture? Throw the old sin clothes out. Cast aside those old habits, reactions, and thinking patterns. They do not fit you now and they never will. “Make no provision for the desires of the flesh” means do not keep those ill-fitting clothes around and by all means do not try to wear them. You will look a fright. They do not fit who you are. And if you do try to wear them, you will feel the frustration, the tug and pull, of just how inappropriate they are.
We have now come to the gist of what this blog is all about. Walking in your new identity, experiencing the provisions of the new covenant, empowered by God’s Spirit inside. To learn more of what this looks like in practice, we have gathered our most specific posts on walking in your new identity in this archive. May I encourage each of us? Live into who you really are; a holy and beloved saint of the Lord.