Put on the Lord Jesus Christ
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14
What is this text telling us to do? It is telling us that we are to wear the uniform of Christ into battle and to find our identity as belonging to Christ. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (14). What does it mean to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”? The word “put on” refers to putting on a garment. Paul sheds light on his meaning here in the Galatian letter, where he writes, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). In other words, just as a uniform identifies a soldier, baptism identifies us as a follower of Jesus. However, clearly here Paul is not necessarily referring to baptism as such, since he is writing to Christians who have already been baptized, and this is a command that they are still to do. Nevertheless, the idea is the same: we are to find our identity in belonging to Christ, and to put him on in faith and obedience, in love and loyalty, taking him as our example and relying on him for strength (cf. Jn. 15:1-5).
I cannot think about what the apostle is telling us to do here without thinking about the last words of Spurgeon in the pulpit:
"If you wear the harness of Christ, you will find Him so meek and lowly of heart that you will find rest for your souls. He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was His like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold, He always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the Cross lies ever on His shoulders. If He bids us carry a burden, He carries it also. If there is anything gracious, generous, kind and tender, yea lavish and super-abundant in love, you always find it in Him. His service is life, peace, joy. Oh that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of JESUS CHRIST."
To put on Christ doesn’t mean merely to identify as a Christian in name only, but to truly give ourselves to him, as a soldier puts himself entirely at the disposal of his superior officers. This is no mere verbal commitment; this is a commitment of the heart and soul to Christ, and to find in him our Lord and our Savior, and to look to him and to trust in him and to obey him. It means that we aren’t trying to scrape out an identity for ourselves but find our identity completely in Christ. It means that we rest in him alone for our righteousness before God. It means that we see in him the fullness of God and find our completeness in him. It means that we believe his words and obey his voice.