Romans 13:11-14 by Robert Dean
How is it possible that Christians are called "sons of light" and then described as walking in darkness? Listen to this lesson to learn how the Bible uses light and darkness. See that at the moment we believe in Christ as our Savior we become sons of light permanently. Understand what happens when we sin after that. Accept the importance and necessity for confessing our sins so we can once again walk by the Spirit.

Light: Putting Off and Putting On–Part 2
Romans 13:11-14

I want to begin with a current event update. Everyone should be aware of the fact that we're in the third day of what is called Operation Protective Edge in Israel. One reason I want to do this is to sort of alert people of what is going on. If you are really interested in what is going on, there is an app you can download on your cell phone called Red Alert: Israel. If you activate that app, a siren will go off every time there is a rocket that is being launched at Israel. Over 400 rockets have been fired at Israel since the beginning. There are differing numbers being given. I have enquired why there are different figures but haven't heard.

We're living in a time of intensified danger internationally. Sadly we live in the time of a president who is a do-nothing president. I just wanted to update you a little bit on the situation. We have a group that's going to Israel in November. That's four months away. In the Middle East that's like four lifetimes. A lot of things can happen between now and then so I want to educate those going on the tour a little bit. We have more people from the immediate local congregation going on this trip, or a higher percentage on this trip going from Houston. Usually we have a lot of people who are live streamers and others going on one of these trips.

The problem that's going on now in Israel, as with the previous war a couple of years ago, is Hamas and the control that Hamas has over the Gaza Strip. To understand the nature of this we need to know that Hamas was founded in 1996 during the first intifada. It's a wing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood which is a radical Muslim group. They're calling for jihad and they're seeking to establish sharia law wherever they go. They took over in Egypt for a while before that fell apart for them fortunately. Now Egypt recognizes the great danger they face because the Gaza Strip borders them on the northeast.

Hamas in their charter quotes from the Koran, "You are the best nation (Islam) that has been raised up to mankind." They believe that their mission is to destroy the Jews. One of their leaders in an interview on Al Aqsa TV said on December 31, 2008 regarding the Jews, "Our business with them is only through bombs and guns." In an article in the official newspaper of Hamas, Hamas promotes the "extermination and complete annihilation of all the Jews and the complete and total destruction of Israel". In that interview, a Hamas representative stated, "We find more than one condemnation of the resistance operations and bombings carried out by Hamas and the resistance branches. Eventually everyone will know that we did this only because our lord commanded so. As the Koran says, 'I did it not from my own accord but so the people would know that the extermination of Jews is good for the inhabitants of the world.' " So this is their focal point and they've never backed off from this and they've never been willing to sign any kind of peace accord and they never will because they would have to compromise this end game.

We've had a little pamphlet on the Hamas charter distributed by "Stand With Us" ( It's an excellent little summation of Hamas. In 2006 they won a democratic election and they took control of Gaza on June 14, 2007. Before that there had been numerous Israeli communities in Gaza but they pulled out all the Israelis in 2005 and 2006. (The pastor showed a map of Hamas control of Gaza which shows the range of these various missiles that Hamas has).

The Kassam missile which is a short range has a 17 kilometer range. Firing from Gaza they can't get as far as Tel Aviv but anything close to the Gaza Strip within 17 kilometers, which is about 12 miles, is fair game for a Kassam. Then you have the Grad which is a 48 kilometer range. This can reach Beer Shiva and as far as Tel Aviv. The N-75 has a range of 75 kilometers which includes Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and then the M-302 has a range of 160 kilometers. This is new for this war. The IDF intelligence thought they had a hundred. It turns out they have about 400. They fired probably about 20 or 30 of these.

Nothing, apparently, has really hit the target. There have been no casualties in Israel as of this date. There's minimal property damage. Many have missed completely. They've landed out in the fields or wherever and many have been shot down. Much of the area of Israel is where Israeli's have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter. So when they hear the alarms go off, they have only 15 seconds to get out of the shower, get dressed, pick up the kids, and get out the door and get into a bomb shelter. They live with this as a daily reality in those areas.

One of the areas that's been hit the most is Sderot. (Shows a picture of a bomb shelter.) I read yesterday in an article in the Israel My Glory magazine in the July/August 2014 issue which just came out about how Friends of Israel have set up an autonomous non-profit organization that is taking donations to contribute to the IDF and a number of other organizations that are helping Israelis out. In that article it mentioned that the Friends of Israel had bought several underground shelters that had been put in place in some villages in some of the kibbutz close to the Gaza area. Some of these areas because of the expense of building bomb shelters and because of the small size of the communities they just have steel pipes like great big drainage pipes that the people go out and run into. That's all they have for protection. In the back of the police department in Sderot they've just stacked all the debris from the rockets after they have blown up.

What has given Israel a new lease on life in many ways is the Iron Dome project which shoots down these incoming missiles. They have a success rate of 90%, meaning they have shot down 90% of the missiles the Iron Dome has aimed at in this recent engagement. I have heard hints that Iron Dome's success rate is even higher. Saturday night I'm going to have dinner with the man who was the project manager for Israel's satellite program and he was a project officer for their Aero Project Defense System. They have three levels of defense. They have the Iron Dome which targets low-flying missiles. The next one is called David's Sling. The highest one that takes out ICBMs that might be coming in is the Aero Defense system. (Video of Iron Dome at work was shown. It was from the New York Times)

One comment I want to make before we get into our text this evening is that I know the ones planning to go on the tour to Israel or who have family members planning to go are beginning to worry a little bit. This is four lifetimes between now and November and the war will probably be over long before we make our trip over there in November. In fact if you look at all of Israel's wars, all six of them since 1948 you will see they are short-lived. In 1956 the Sinai War lasted eight days. In 1967 the six-day wars lasted six days. In 1973 the Yom Kippur War lasted 19 days. In 1982 the first Lebanon War began on the 6th of June. The fighting was mostly in Lebanon where they were taking out a lot of Hezbollah fighters with very little fighting in Israel. That lasted through the month of June but they didn't pull their forces out until sometime in August to early September. In the second Lebanon War which was in August 2006 it began on the 12th of July and ended on the 14th of August, lasting for 34 days. And then the most recent fight was Operation Cast Lead which was from the end of December in 2008 until the 18th of January 2009 and that was a 23-day conflict. These are all very, very short. This current one started on the 8th of July and this will probably be over with before the middle of August. I'm not predicting. I'm just making a guess based on past history. So by the time we go to Israel in November this will be ancient history.

Now, open your Bible with me to Romans 13 and we're looking at the last three verses of the chapter which summarizes the Christian life. It's one of the great passages related to the Christian life which we find in the New Testament and it uses vocabulary which is common to the other key passages in Ephesians, Colossians, James, and several other passages.

Hebrews 13:12-14, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the day, not in revelry or drunkenness, not in lewdness or lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts." Now to understand what Paul is saying here we have to understand this "night and day" imagery which I talked about in the last lesson but that was two weeks ago. And we need the imagery of "casting off and putting on" which is the real key terminology. I just want to set this up so you can get this in your head. This is one of the great descriptions of the Christian life.

Every believer is positionally in Christ the instant they trust in Christ. Romans 6:3 says we're identified or baptized in the resurrection of Christ. So we become a new creature in Christ. This is fundamental. This was so emphasized by the Keswick or victorious living groups in the late 19th century that it picked up a name called the identification "truthers". Unfortunately some of those who emphasized identification truths in terms of our identity in Christ failed to recognize experiential realities which is our day-to-day experience. We're to walk by the Spirit. We are to be filled by means of the Spirit. It's called walking in the light.

So our position is, our identification in terms of our family identification, is that we are "sons of light". That's who we are. Then we're to walk by the light. That's what we're to do. Sometimes we don't walk by the light. We live like we're part of someone else's family. Perhaps when you did something when you were growing up that was out of character for your family your mother or father would say, "How can you be a member of our family if you do something like that?"  Well, they don't mean they're literally kicking you out of the family. They're just telling you that we have a standard of living in our family and that doesn't fit it. You need to live like you're a member of our family, not like you're a member of someone else's family.

Now when we walk by the light, we often sin. When we sin we stop walking by the light and we're walking in darkness. This is talking about our day-to-day experience. The Bible describes this as walking according to the flesh or the sin nature. It also uses the term walking in darkness in contrast to walking in the light.

The only way to recover from this then is through 1 John 1:9 which is how we understand that as a confession passage. You have to realize that there are some theologians, notably those who hold to a covenant type theology, who want to take this as a salvation verse. They say that we confess sin and admit we're sinners at the point of faith in Christ and that's when we're cleansed of all sin. That's not what 1 John 1:9 is talking about. It's talking about this experiential reality.

So last time I talked about the fact that in Romans 13:12 we have two pairs of words that we need to understand. They're antonyms for each other, night and darkness and day and light. This is typical of the imagery that's used in the Scripture to describe those who are in relationship with God because God is light. That describes His perfect righteousness and holiness. In Him there is no darkness at all, John says in the 1st chapter of John.

Now there are different ways in which this light and day imagery is used. I ran through these last time. I want to just pop through them quickly as a reminder. In John 12:36 Jesus is talking to His disciples and some unbelievers and He says, "While you have the light, believe in the Light so you may become sons of light." That's talking about our position in Christ. He's talking to unbelievers and telling them that if they believe they will become a son of the light. That's positional.

1 Peter 2:9, "We've been called out of darkness into His marvelous light." That's our position in Christ. We are in the kingdom of light Peter says later on. In Acts 26:18 Paul describes it this way, "We have turned from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified." This is a perfect passive participle which indicates a past completed action so this is talking about positional sanctification.

In Colossians 1:13 it talks about the fact that at salvation we were "delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son." So again this is our position in Christ, moving from darkness to light. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 says that we are all "sons of light and sons of the day." That's talking about our position. We are "not of the night nor of darkness."

In Ephesians 5:8 Paul says "you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord." That's positional. Then he says, "Walk as children of light." So that moves us from talking about our position and identity as sons of light to the experience of walking as children of light. That tells us that Ephesians is not talking about our positional realities in Christ. It's talking about and challenging us about our day-to-day walk with Lord. Our position is who we are as those who have been baptized into the body of Christ and then we are to focus on the experiential truth, the experiential reality of the necessity of walking by the walk and constantly recovering from sin through the use of 1 John 1:9.

We are to walk in the light as He is in the light. This is what 1 John 1:7 says, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." Notice there's a priority here. What comes first is our relationship with God. Walking in the light is enjoying our fellowship with God. It's not a static thing. Often we speak idiomatically and we say we "have" fellowship. Fellowship is something that is a partnership, something that's enjoyed, and something that's dynamic. It's not just static.

So really we walk in the light and we enjoy fellowship with God and as a result of having fellowship with God. By walking in the light we then can have fellowship with one another. The basis for this is that the death of Christ on the cross is sufficient for all sin. This is what Jesus is talking about in John 1:46, "I have come as a light into the world that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." This word "abide" in Johnine writings is very important. It describes that on-going fellowship. It's not talking about salvation.

If you're reading what someone has written that has a lordship view of salvation, then they interpret abiding as being equivalent to salvation. Those who are saved abide and those who don't abide aren't saved, they say. They think they never were saved; they just thought they were. In fact in the NET Bible which has a lot of good notes in it but also a lot of questionable notes. It was edited by the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary. One of the notes in one of the verses in either 1 John 1 or 1 John 2, talks about the fact that this is referring to those who are saved.

People have an elitist view of Christians. That some Christians abide and others don't. That's completely wrong. Jesus is emphasizing that on-going relationship. This is another way Paul talks about it in Ephesians 5:14. Let's just turn over there. Some of these verses are going to get a little technical. The focus in Ephesians 5 is on the Christian walk. This is what Paul introduces going back through Ephesians 4:1, "For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of the Lord implore you to walk in the manner worthy of the manner in which you have been called." In chapters 4, 5, and 6 he focuses on our Christian walk, not our possessions in Christ. When he gets to Ephesians 5:2 he says, "Walk in love just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us and offered a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Then in Ephesians 5:8, "Walk as children of light."

The focal point here is on our daily walk. We need to wake up and be alert. Ephesians 5:14, "Awake you who sleep [out of fellowship]. Arise from the dead [the carnal life in terms of living like a spiritually dead person] and Christ will give you light." Here the light metaphor is talking about something a little different. It's talking about the illumination in the Christian way of life so Romans 13:12 uses this imagery of night and day.

When Jesus was on the earth He said that it was now daytime but the night was coming. The coming of the night was when Christ left the earth. Now Paul is talking about the same Church Age as the night which is progressing but the day is almost here. Day is being used here to refer to Christ being present once again upon the earth. I pointed out the importance of imminency that lies behind that verse, that we expect Christ at any moment. No sign must take place before Christ comes so it's near, it's at hand, it could happen at any moment.

Then he says that as a result of that the conclusion is that there are certain actions that should take place in our lives. "We should cast off the works of darkness and we should put on the armor of light." Now casting off is the word apotithemi which is used in a literal sense of taking off clothes. When you get ready to go to bed at night you take your clothes off. When you get up in the morning you put your clothes on and get ready to go out. So that's the idea of taking something off and putting something on. This is clear in the vocabulary that's used there.

The word that is used in this passage for putting on is enduo which means to dress or to clothe. This is in contrast to apotithemi which means to put off or to take off or to remove something. These two words are used a lot of places in the New Testament in talking about the Christian way of life but they're used in two different senses. You're never going to get this from the English because it's based on the Greek grammar as to how they're used. The same words can be used but how they're used grammatically makes a difference.

We'll start with that which is the most familiar to us and that is relating it to the whole concept of confession of sin and of recovery. James 1:21 says, "Therefore [first] lay aside filthiness and overflow of wickedness…" The KJV translated this the "superfluity of naughtiness," whatever that's supposed to mean. Another translation is "the excess of evil". We are to lay that aside and "to receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your soul." Lay aside here is an aorist participle. Now these people James is addressing are already saved as is clear from previous verses. He addresses them as brethren. Earlier he had talked about the fact that they were already saved.

Now he's talking to them as to how saved people should live. He says to first lay aside and then receive. In 1 Peter 2:1-2 we have the same verb, apotithemi for the removal of clothes. "Therefore lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. Desire the sincere milk of the word." If you just look at this in English you might think that first of all you have to really clean up your life before you can receive the Word. You have to really repent and have a lot of remorse and you have to morally clean everything up before you can take in the Word. That's not what's implied here.

If we look at this verse there are two actions indicated by the words "lay aside" and then "receive". Lay aside is an aorist participle. In an aorist participle the action precedes the action of the main verb but when the main verb is an imperative then the aorist participle can be stating the pre-requisite action for fulfilling the command. So you have an aorist imperative preceded by an aorist participle which is describing what is called by grammarians as a participle of antecedent circumstances.

There are five features that are usually all present for you to be able to identify a participle as one of antecedent circumstances. The first is that the tense of the participle is aorist. The second is that the tense of the main verb is aorist. Third, the mood of the main verb is usually imperative but might be indicative. So the first three fit. We have an aorist participle. We have an aorist main verb and we have an aorist imperative main verb. The fourth feature is that the participle will precede the main verb both in word order and in time. That's exactly what we have here. The fifth characteristic of a participle of attendant circumstances is the one that doesn't apply. Attendant circumstances participle most frequently apply in narrative literature. Well, this isn't narrative literature. This is an epistle. But one or two cannot be true and you still can have a participle of attendant circumstances. Of the five characteristics the one that is least significant is the fifth one, its presence in narrative literature.

So what we have in both James 1:21 and in 1 Peter 2:1 is this exact syntax. You have an aorist participle that precedes an aorist imperative. That indicates that what the writer is saying is that first you have to lay aside before you can fulfill the requirements for the commandments. Now there's no way we can morally repair our lives before we take in the Word. We would never take in anything. So the only solution here is that this is talking about confession of sin. That's what the pre-requisite is. Before you can take in the Word you have to clean your life. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." So the way that we lay aside the filthiness, the excess of wickedness, is to confess sin. We do that first.

Then we're able to receive with humility the implanted Word. The Word that is already implanted with us because we're saved "which is able to save our souls." Save our souls is an idiom for saving your life. This is Phase 2 of the Christian life, being saved from the power of sin in your life. James doesn't use saved as a synonym for justification. He talks about justification in chapter 2. "Saved" here is talking about the spiritual life. Here we have this same principle.

A lot of people have said, "I don't find confession anywhere except in 1 John 1:9." That's true. That word confession is only found there but we have other passages such as 1 Corinthians 11 which talks about examining your life. Here we have a grammatical principle indicating that first there has to be a cleansing from sin before you can take in the Word. In 1 Peter 1:21 we have this same terminology with apotithemi again for laying aside.

Here Peter lists specifics. He says, "Therefore first lay aside all malice, all deceit…" Let me ask you a question. This is part of using reason, the right use of reason in Scripture. Is it possible for a fallen corrupt sinner to remove all malice and all deceit from your life before you take in the Word? That's not possible. We can't clean it up that much but God can. Here we have the same structure, the same syntax that we have in James 1:21. Laying aside is an aorist participle that precedes the aorist verb.

The aorist imperative verb is the word desire. We are to desire the Word. We are to thirst for the Word. We are to hunger for the Word like a newborn baby. Some of you have a little experience with infants recently and it's not too much of a stretch of your memory to remember what it's like when a child gets hungry. What happens when a child starts to get hungry? They start screaming for food. They start demanding food. Now I've always thought that there's a comparison here between eating and fasting. If you go on a genuine fast like Jesus was on, a genuine fast when he fasted for forty days and forty nights. That's not unusual. Anyone can do it. It doesn't take any kind of extra miracle power. You may think that it does because you can't last two hours without food but once you get past about the second day your hunger pangs and appetite really goes away.

I experienced this many years ago when I was on a two and a half day backpacking wilderness expedition in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The last three days were a solo on the shore of Lake Superior. We were not to have any food with us because our leaders scared us that bears were active in the area and if people had food with them, the bears could smell it and attack you. So we didn't take anything with us. The week before someone had been camping there and the bears had gotten into their packs and torn everything up. What I experienced on that and I've read about that is that it's common that once you get to about the 40th day your appetite starts to come back pretty fiercely. Now you have to eat! You're just ravenous and you start eating again.

I didn't go that long. We went three days and I was really surprised. I was fairly young at the time and was eating everything that was set in front of me. I had no thought I could go twelve hours without food but we went thirty-six hours. Afterwards we were taken back and had lunch and we were all taught how to gradually get back into food. Over the next twelve to twenty-four hours I ate more than I've ever eaten in a twenty-four hour period. Once your appetite comes back you're just ravenous.

I think that's an analogy. This means that Christians today should be demanding that their pastors feed them the milk and the meat of the Word. There are people out there who are being starved to death. They're on a spiritual famine. They've lost their appetite for the Word and for the truth because they never get it. They're on a starvation diet. We're starving the body of Christ in our generation. What Peter's talking about here using that graphic analogy of desiring the milk of the Word is that first of all before you desire it, you have to lay aside the sin. It's confession of sin and then you can fulfill the command to desire the pure milk of the Word. Another reason I think a lot of Christians aren't desiring the milk of the Word is they've never been taught anything about confession. They've never been taught anything about 1 John1:9. From the moment they got saved until the present moment they've just been living mostly in carnality with no idea how to recover.

This is what we're talking about in these passages is that when we're walking by the Spirit, we're walking in the light, and we have to recover so we can spend a maximum amount of time in fellowship and walking with the Lord. On the other hand we have this emphasis on identification with Christ, our positional truth, which is the result of our being baptized by the Holy Spirit. So these are the two things we have to keep together, keep in our minds as we go through these passages. I want you to go back with me to Colossians 2. We're going to start in Colossians 2:11. I went through this in detail when we went through Colossians. It talks about "in Him". That's our position in Christ. "In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands." This is not talking about literal physical circumcision but it's using it as a metaphor for what happened at the baptism by the Holy Spirit when we are separated by the tyranny of the sin nature. This is another way the Apostle Paul is describing for his readers the break between the old life and the new life. "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." The body of the flesh there is talking about the sin nature. So this was a circumcision.

How did it take place? In Colossians 2:12 we read "Having been buried with Him in baptism in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God." Is that talking about literal water baptism? No. It's talking about that baptism by the Holy Spirit that occurs at the instant of salvation. This is when we're cut off, as it were, where Christ is the One who circumcises us from the flesh of the sin nature. He's talking about this positional reality. Putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ is being buried with Him in baptism." So Colossians 2:11-12 is talking about a positional reality.

Then we skip down to verse 20 where Paul says, "If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world." When did we die with Christ? We died with Christ when we were identified with His death, burial, and resurrection. That's the positional reality. Then in Colossians 3:1 it says, "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ…" He uses those conditional clauses such as "if you died with Christ" talking about baptism by the Holy Spirit and "if you've been raised up by Christ" which is the same thing, he adds," Keep seeking the things which are above." That's experiential.

As he starts off in each of these three statements in Colossians 2:20, Colossians 3:1 and Colossians 3:3 he's basically saying that since this is true, since this is what happened when you were saved, you were identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection and the tyranny of the sin nature was truly cut off. You may not feel that because that sin nature still has a hold on you and you still follow it too easily but the way to break that is to understand the reality that took place at the instant of salvation.

In Colossians 3:3 he says, "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Your life and my life from that instant of salvation is hidden in Christ with God. We can never lose that. That is our identity. That is who we are. And because that identity is true he goes on to talk about what that means experientially. In Colossians 3:5 he says, "Therefore because you have died, put to death…" You're dead but now you need to put something to death. It's true positionally but you still need to make it true experientially.

Therefore he says, "Consider…" This word means thinking. You have to think according to this new reality. You need to "Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed which amounts to idolatry." This is just one of many sin lists Paul gives in various passages in Scripture. He does the same thing through pairs in Romans 13:13. So he goes on to say, "It's because of these things that the wrath of God [divine discipline in time] will come upon the sons of disobedience." That's those who are characterized by disobedience.

Sons of disobedience is a Hebrew idiom. If you're Jewish and you spoke Hebrew of Aramaic, you had this kind of an idiom. If you were a robber, you would not be called a robber. You would be called a son of a robber because that noun that comes after the son is a description. When it's says you're the son of something it means you're characterized by that noun. If you are a murderer you'd be called the son of a murderer, not because your father was a murderer but because you're characterized by that phrase being a murderer. If you are destructive you'd be called a SOB, a son of Belial because Belial was a demon idol responsible for destruction. So if you are human, you'd be called son of man. Ezekiel continually was addressed as the son of man. Jesus takes on the title of Son of Man to emphasize His humanity. The title is used in Daniel 7 and also in the gospels. Jesus is also called the Son of God. Son of doesn't mean you're a generated product of something. It's just the way they spoke to emphasize that description.

Paul says in verse 6, the sons of disobedience. That was just talking about a group of people who were characterized by disobedience to God. It could be believers. It could be unbelievers. And he says, "In them [these sins] you also once walked." Walking is a description of a lifestyle. "You once walked when you were living in them, but now you also put them all aside." That means they're already saved. It doesn't have to do with getting saved. This is apotithemi. Again it's descriptive. Then it names what you're to put aside: anger, wrath, malice, and abusive speech from your mouth. Here we don't have the same kind of construction that we had in James or in 1 Peter. We're not talking about confession. We're talking about applying the Word to our lives so we're no longer characterized by these sins. We are to not commit these sins. We are to remove them from our life so they don't characterize our lives.

He goes on in verse 9 to say, "Don't lie to one another since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices." See at the moment of salvation we're not that person before we were saved. The old self isn't the old sin nature. The old self is our identity as an unregenerate who could only follow the dictates of the sin nature. He says, "Since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices and have put on [enduo] the new one." That's positional. You have this new identity. "You have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one who created him." This is only true if we're learning and applying God's Word.

In Colossians we see this distinction between the positional reality that we are a new person. We have positionally laid aside the old self. We've positionally put on the new self. But experientially we have to do that in terms of our lifestyle. In Galatians 3:27 Paul says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Same word so it's positionally. We put on Christ positionally but according to Paul in Colossians 3 and Romans 13 we now have to put Him on experientially as well.

When he says, "put on Christ" this is that same word enduo. So the way we put on Christ is at the moment we accept Christ. You have put off the old man and put on the new man, the Christ, by being identified with Him. But in Colossians 3:8 we are to put off all these various sins and put on that which characterizes the new man by renewing our souls. These are the same things we see again and again and again in Scripture. Romans 8:12, "Therefore brethren we are debtors not to the flesh to live according to the flesh." We've got to stop living according to the flesh. We can't do that completely but the way we recover when we do is confession of sin and then we have to stay in fellowship.

In Romans 8:13 Paul says, "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die." See, they're already saved but you're going to have a death-like existence if you keep living according to the sin nature. Then he goes on to say, "But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body." How do we have experiential victory over the sin nature? By putting to death the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit. This is what everybody leaves out when they talk about the mechanics of the spiritual life. They're just talking about you going out and morally improving your life, quit sinning and start doing the right thing. That's just morality. What the Bible is talking about is spirituality. "We walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh."

The only way we cannot do this by the flesh is to confess our sins and to walk by the Spirit. So let's just go back to Romans 13 where Paul says, "Let us walk properly as in the day." Then he describes the improper walk, "Not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy." There are three pairs here, synonyms with each other. So these aren't to characterize our lives. He doesn't go on and list as extensive a list as he does in Galatians 5 and Colossians 3 but you get the point.

He says, "But in contrast, put on the Lord Jesus Christ." Now we can mention that didn't it say in Colossians 3 I had already put on the Lord Jesus Christ? Well that was positional. Here's it's experiential. We're "to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts." And that word for provision is the word pronoia, pro meaning beforehand or ahead of time, noia related to the word for the mind, nous, and it means forethought.

Don't think ahead of time that "Well I can get away with this." That's what we facetiously refer to as pre-bound. I'll just confess my sin ahead of time and then later on I'll be okay. Rebound being the idea like in basketball when you miss the goal you can recover. Recovering the ball is called rebounding. So often that word has been used in imagery for confession. Then some way came up with the idea of "prebound" where you just confess your sin before you sin and then you'll be okay. That's just licentiousness.

Here we're to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and not make a provision for the flesh. Don't give yourself an opportunity to sin later on, to fulfill its lusts. In a nutshell what Paul has done here at the end of Romans 13 is to give us a snapshot of the Christian life. That we're to walk by the Spirit and not according to the flesh. It's the Holy Spirit although he doesn't mention the Holy Spirit here but he does in parallel passages. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we're able to lay aside the deeds of darkness, verse 12, and put on the armor of light.

In 1 Thessalonians, and especially Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul expands on this armor imagery. He uses it often to refer to that which protects the believer. It's defensive. You don't defeat the enemy with your armor. You protect yourself from the enemy with your armor. The only way to do that is to lay aside the deeds of darkness in terms of experiential sanctification and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It has to be something that is part of your thoughtful, conscientious approach to day-to-day life. Don't put yourself in a position where you will easily succumb to sin and to temptation.