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14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

 


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14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, etc. This metaphor is commonly used in Scripture with respect to what tends to adorn or to deform man; both of which may be seen in his clothing: for a filthy and torn garment dishonors a man; but what is becoming and clean recommends him. Now to put on Christ, means here to be on every side fortified by the power of his Spirit, and be thereby prepared to discharge all the duties of holiness; for thus is the image of God renewed in us, which is the only true ornament of the soul. For Paul had in view the end of our calling; inasmuch as God, by adopting us, unites us to the body of his only-begotten Son, and for this purpose, — that we, renouncing our former life, may become new men in him. 412412     Many have explained “the putting on” here in a manner wholly inconsistent with the passage, as though the putting on of Christ’s righteousness was intended. Calvin keeps to what accords with the context, the putting on of Christ as to his holy image. Sanctification, and not justification, is the subject of the passage. To put on Christ, then, is to put on his virtues and graces, to put on or be endued with his spirit, to imitate his conduct and to copy his example. This is in addition to the putting him on as our righteousness, and not as a substitute for it. Both are necessary: for Christ is our sanctification, the author, worker, and example of it, as well as our righteousness. — Ed. On this account he says also in another place, that we put on Christ in baptism. (Galatians 3:27.)

And have no care, etc. As long as we carry about us our flesh, we cannot cast away every care for it; for though our conversation is in heaven, we yet sojourn on earth. The things then which belong to the body must be taken care of, but not otherwise than as they are helps to us in our pilgrimage, and not that they may make us to forget our country. Even heathens have said, that a few things suffice nature, but that the appetites of men are insatiable. Every one then who wishes to satisfy the desires of the flesh, must necessarily not only fall into, but be immerged in a vast and deep gulf.

Paul, setting a bridle on our desires, reminds us, that the cause of all intemperance is, that no one is content with a moderate or lawful use of things: he has therefore laid down this rule, — that we are to provide for the wants of our flesh, but not to indulge its lusts. It is in this way that we shall use this world without abusing it.




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