November 14, 2020
Subject: Isaiah’s Answer for how to Save America, Part 2: “Put on” Jesus Christ
Romans 13:14 “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.”
Someone recently posted in social media that it feels like we are all in the midst of a divorce, and we are just waiting to find out who we end up with. Columnist Dennis Prager explained that America’s choice for a leader boils down to a choice “between Donald Trump’s narcissism and the left’s assault on liberty.”
Yet, as Prager continued, the criticism of President Trump has not been on the results he has obtained: “For four years, the mainstream print and electronic media waged daily, indeed hourly, vicious attacks on Trump as a human being. Rarely did they attack his policies, since they were so beneficial to America (some of the greatest economic figures in memory and the lowest black unemployment rate ever recorded) and to the world (a major weakening of Iran and a major strengthening of Israel and Israel-Arab peace).”
The left’s ultimate goal of implementing their socialist agenda is now underway. Their efforts to convince Americans of the merits of a more socialist government over a democratic republic have even gone so far as to claim that a careful reading of the Bible shows that Jesus Himself was, in fact, a socialist!
We know Jesus was not a socialist. Since many no longer read their Bibles, we can take a moment to put this nutty claim to bed. But first, let’s understand what we mean when we use the term “socialism”.
In his recent book ‘Was Jesus a Socialist?’, Lawrence Reed, President Emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education, explains the historical definition of socialism and the left’s redefinition: “A century ago, socialism meant government ownership of the means of production. The left has shifted the definition to mean centralized planning of the economy, emphasizing America as the benevolent, egalitarian, nanny state where rich Peter is robbed to pay poor Paul, with lots of ‘free stuff’ from the government.”
So, does the Bible portray Jesus as a socialist? One of Christ’s central messages is to aid those in need, but how to do it is where He and socialism part ways. Christ’s commands to love one another, be kind to one another, pray for one another, forgive one another, serve one another are very personal and are a direct reflection of how well He lives within you. They do not require any government programs.
As Reed points out, “Christianity is not about passing the buck to the government to relieve the plight of the poor. Helping people to overcome poverty, not paying them to stay poor or making them dependent upon the state, has been an essential fact in the life of a true Christian for 2,000 years. Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is utterly distinct from the impersonal mandates of the state.”
In our verse this week, Paul told the church in Rome how each of them could show charity toward their neighbors: “PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.” What does Paul mean?
In last week’s article, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that one day God would send His Messiah to bring salvation to mankind and make things right: “His own Arm brought salvation for Him; His righteousness, it sustained Him” (Isaiah 59:16). Then, Isaiah goes into detail on how this Messiah will accomplish this.
“He PUT ON righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak” (Isaiah 59:17). These words of Isaiah in 740BC sound a lot like the words of Paul below to the church in Ephesus in 62AD, don’t they?
“TAKE UP the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having PUT ON the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the gospel of peace; and above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And TAKE UP the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17).
Let’s connect the dots: Isaiah 59:17, Romans 13:14 and Ephesians 6:13-17 tell us this armor isn’t ours to “put on.” The armor belongs to Jesus Christ Himself. And when we “put on Christ”, we get His armor. And to “put on” Christ means to surrender to Him as Lord and Savior, so that what is His is now ours, because, as Colossians 1:27 says, He lives in us, owns us, and directs us: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of the mystery among the Gentiles, which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.”
If you take your inner relationship with Jesus Christ seriously, you know who America’s true Savior is.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.