Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Potter’s House: Romans 13:12-14; Overcoming Sin

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 31, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

Romans 13:12-14 – The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

This will complete Chapter 13 in our Romans series. Today, we take a break from my perpetual drumbeat of justification and focus on the crux of sanctification: overcoming sin. Justification is God’s declaration about who we are—we are righteous—not just positionally, but personally. Sanctification is not a living out of justification; it is a living out of our righteousness that resulted in being justified. While there is no law in justification, sanctification fulfils the law.

As we see in the verses here, sanctification is a call to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The law (all of Scripture), informs our sanctification, and also informs us that it has no part in justification. The law informs us that it is a ministry of death for the unbelieving, but the law of the Spirit—the law of liberty for those who believe. Salvation calls for the death of the former person so the law of sin and death will no longer be valid (Romans 7:1-6). Before we followed Christ, Death was our spouse, and the law was the marriage covenant (Ibid). But we died with Christ so we could be resurrected to new life with Him. Now, we live by the “law of the Spirit of Life” (Rom 8:2).

We must understand that a major affront to salvation is the idea that the “law of the Spirit of life” and the “law of sin and death” are not two different relationships to the same law, but two different realms. Hence, we are merely transformed from the realm of the law to the realm of the Spirit. This is indicative of Protestantism’s Gnostic roots, and makes antinomianism feasible to the unlearned en masse in our day. I myself have heard many in our day teach that sin is a natural law like gravity, and therefore, manifestations of righteousness are a supernatural act of God that we merely experience by faith alone. We remain in the sin realm, keep in mind: the “transformation” of salvation is only the ability to experience the other realm “by faith.” And what is faith? Faith is a gift that is like an eye that only sees outward. To the degree that we “see” the depths of the gospel (our sin as set against God’s holiness), righteousness is manifested in the spirit realm, and we can observe/experience those manifestations from the sin realm that we are enslaved to. Regardless of all of the bemoaning and whining about Rick Warren in Reformed circles, anyone like him who holds to Gnostic Christianity will always be part of the Reformed clan:

This week we’re talking about developing the eyes of faith. When you are spiritually reborn, God opens your spiritual eyes and this enables you to see His work all around you and to see the many opportunities He places before you.

God will also open your spiritual ears, so you will be able to hear what people are really saying instead of what you think they are saying. When Jesus comes into your life, God opens a whole set of spiritual senses that help you see life from His point of view.

Let me give you a simple example of how this works. Have you ever been reading the Bible and, as you read a verse, it just pops out and you think, ‘Wow, I never saw that before!’ Even though you’ve read that verse fifteen times, you’d never seen the truth that just popped out for you.

What happened? God just opened your spiritual eyes.

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, there are some basic steps you must complete in order to develop the eyes of faith, in order to live life by faith, and you need to live by faith or you will never be able to complete the destiny God has planned out for you (Rick Warren: Developing the eyes of faith – Step Two; January 04,  2011 | purposedriven .com).

Notice that the Christian life must be lived “by faith” [“alone” always omitted for purposes of nuance], and is merely a matter of “see[ing]” and not DOING. The “flesh” is also interpreted as the sin realm that we are enslaved to. So, the law as Scripture serves to do nothing but show us our sinfulness as ones trapped and enslaved to the sin realm, and as we see this more and more in Scripture, our gratitude for God’s grace is enhanced and we experience the joy of the spirit realm which we are totally separate from. We cannot walk in it—we can only experience it. The payoff is exceeding joy in the midst of whatever life brings our way, after all, we are enslaved/trapped in this realm, and everything that happens to us is a narrative set against God’s holy realm. Hence, tragedy only brings glory to God. If you google “eyes of faith,” you can find much information about this mystic approach to life. As I have stated many times before, the theological journal of the Australian Forum is invaluable in clarifying these Reformed concepts.

In their illustration the truly spiritual man only looks outward, while believing that we are in a realm that we can participate in leads to a “sea of subjectivism.” The “sea of subjectivism” motto is one of the truisms that launched the present-day New Calvinist movement and that concept was unique to the Australian Forum as noted by John H. Armstrong in his well-traveled essay, Sola Fide: Does it Really Matter?

As teachers and those who communicate God’s truth in Evangelical circles, do we know how people interpret our use of the words, law, flesh, sin, and righteousness? Do they assume we are speaking of realms and the characteristics of those realms? Do they assume the law is a narrative about God’s holiness and the evil of man only?

As people, how do we really view change? It is interesting that Christ primarily framed His gospel call in regard to change. Clearly, His gospel was a call to change—it was the “gospel of the kingdom” Matt 4:23. In Matthew 5:1-7:29 we are shown exactly what His messages were comprised of in the Sermon on the Mount. It was a call to live a certain way—it is a message of change. We do not change for salvation, but salvation is a call to change. Salvation is for people who want to change. It is in the verses at hand here today: “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We don’t put on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, we simply believe that faith alone cancels works for justification, but frees us to change. It is a call to use the law lawfully:

1Timothy 1:5 – The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

When Paul wrote of those who teach the law, he never meant to say that this refers to an endeavor to keep the law truthfully along with the spirit of the law. What do I mean by, “the spirit of the law”? Well, it means that we not only abstain from adultery, but we also abstain from fantasizing about adulterous affairs with others, or sins of the heart. God sent the flood on the world because “every intention of the thoughts of his [mankind] heart was only evil continually.” When Paul wrote of those propagating law-based salvation, it always refers to a dumbed down version of the law or a law edited by the traditions of men.

A lawful use of the law refers to TRUTH, or an accurate rendering of the full counsel of God resulting in “sound doctrine.” In John 17:17 Christ states that we are sanctified with the truth, and 2Thessolonians 2;10 reveals the fact that being saved comes part and parcel with loving the truth. Again, this doesn’t save us, but is rather a natural result of the new birth:

understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient…in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted (Ibid)… on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus (Romans 2:16).

Keeping the law can’t save us, but being saved will result in “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” It will result in keeping the law lawfully. “Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” involves doing so according to the truth.

What does Paul mean by, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand”? This probably speaks to the fact that the Lord’s return is imminent in this age. The next event on the prophetic timeline is the tribulation period, and that time period is marked by specific events separated by days. In this age, the Lord’s return is to be expected at any time, and it is a rapturing up of His people to meet Him in the air. The end of the tribulation is the coming of Christ to establish His kingdom on earth. We are to conduct our Christian lives according to the fact that Christ could return at any time.

What we are to be doing is stated: “So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” The armor of light is the whole armor of God:

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We are in a spiritual warfare, and like all warfare, you must be well prepared to win the battle. Sanctification is a many-faceted endeavor that entails preparation and readiness. We must be about doing “everything” not just, “seeing and hearing” while waiting for whatever Christ might manifest for us in the spiritual realm. We are active and called on to participate in real change:  “So then let us cast off the works of darkness.” We will return to Ephesians for some explanation here as well:

Ephesians 4:20 – That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We are to put off the old “self” and put on the new…what? “self.” What does “new” mean? What does “self” mean? What does, “old” mean? This is real change. This is the putting off and putting on process spoken of throughout the Bible. Obviously, this process brings about change. Of course, the Gnostic naysayers will say, “Yes, but it is not ‘real and lasting change’” while they deny that people can change at all. We can change, and this passage reveals how.

The putting off and putting on dynamic of change is absolutely massive in the Bible. I would like to add to our lesson with a word study that constitutes the first thing I have ever perceived as having value coming out of the Neo-Calvinist camp. It is a word study by Justin Taylor regarding this dynamic.* Of course, it is interpreted via the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event prism.

This is Calvin’s Sabbath rest sanctification where God preordains our good works as manifested in the spirit realm and only experienced by us. This is achieved by gospel contemplationism that merely opens our eyes to what God is manifesting in the spirit realm. The “flesh” isn’t the “old self,” it is a realm that we are enslaved to. Hence, as we have discussed before, it is the Pharisees were really, really good at keeping the law paradigm. Therefore, since we must have a righteousness that exceeds theirs, the perfect obedience of Christ must be manifested to our experience through gospel contemplationism.

This is the very relaxing of the law theology that Jesus warned against. Obviously, if Jesus kept/keeps the law for us, diligence in doing so is not a priority for us. All of the imperatives in the Bible, or in this case putting off and putting on, are meant to frustrate us in our attempts to keep the law. The theory holds that Jesus pummeled us with commands to show us that we are unable to keep them. In Reformed circles this is referred to as holding a counselee’s hand to the fire of the law until they beg for mercy. Nevertheless, Taylor’s word study can be used for our good benefit.*

Next, we have an illustration by Dr. Jay Adams that lists verses that have the put off put on dynamic within the context of a passage.** You can read those passages and ascertain  what the put off and the put on are.**

Next, we have an impressive list of put on and put off that are inferred by separate imperatives. This is the dreaded Do’s and Don’ts list so often maligned in our day.***

But the key is knowing the following: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Bingo—sin makes its appeal through the desires, or if you will, emotions. That appeal comes from the old self which resides in our mortality, or flesh. We also see this in the Ephesians passage: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.”

Remember that Paul told Timothy to “flee youthful lust.” So, I want to add here that older saints do have a change advantage because old age has weakened their bodies. Strong emotions and desires are weaker. But in either case, the strength of the desire measures the strength of the temptation:

James 1:14 – But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Therefore, sinful desires are intensified and strengthened when given “provision” :

g4307. πρόνοια pronoia; from 4306; forethought, i. e. provident care or supply:— providence, provision.

Do you want to hate sin? Do you know that Christians can learn to love and also learn to hate? We will learn to love and treasure what we invest our heart in: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” “Let love be genuine, hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Do’s and Don’ts? No, this isn’t about do’s  and don’ts, this is about giving provisions to sinful desires—this is about learning to love good and hate evil—this is about proper investment. Can you now see what the relaxing of the law in sanctification will do? It will, according to James, bring forth fruits of death which is still possible because we are in these mortal bodies.

And in the final analysis, God is robbed of glory (Matthew 5: 13-16). As Christians, we must define who we are and how spiritual warfare is waged. We are righteous, and we can change, and God is behind us with the help of Himself, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


*I’ve been intrigued by Paul’s idea of “putting on” and “putting off,” and wanted to investigate a little further.

The Greek word ἐνδύω is usually used in the Gospels for putting on or wearing clothes (Matt. 6:25; 22:11; 27:31; Mark 1:6; 6:9; 15:20; Luke 8:27; 15:22; cf. Acts 12:21). John uses the term the same way in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:13; 15:6; 19:14), though it’s clear there that the clothing is also symbolic of purity and righteousness. The only exception to the normal use in the Synoptics is that before his ascension Jesus instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were “clothed with power from on high.”

The apostle Paul seems to pick up this metaphorical use, and he runs with it in a variety of ways.

Those in Christ have already put on Christ.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

Those in Christ are commanded to put on Christ.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13:14).

Those in Christ have already put on the new self/man.

“[You] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10).

Those in Christ are instructed to put on the new self/man.

“[Your were taught] to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

Those in Christ are to put on the whole armor of God.

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. . . . Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:11, 14).

“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8).

Those in Christ are to put on love and other virtues.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14).

Those in Christ have perishable, mortal bodies that will one day put on imperishable, immortal, heavenly bodies.

“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:33).

“For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor. 5:2).

Paul—as well as other NT writers—also express the flip side of “putting off” (ἀποτίθημι), the non-metaphorical use of which can be used of removing clothing (cf. Acts 7:58).

Those in Christ have already put off the old self/man.

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices” (Col. 3:9).

Those in Christ are instructed to put off the old self/man.

“[You were taught] to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Eph. 4:22).

Those in Christ are to put away all sin and vice.

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Eph. 4:25).

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Pet. 2:1).

~ Online source:

~ Comments:


Eph 4:25

Eph 4:28

Eph 4:29

Eph 4:31-32

Psalm 1

Gal 5:19-23

3Jn 11

Heb 10:25

1Pet 3:9

Matt 16:24

1Thess 1:9

1Pet 1:14-15

1Pet 2:11-12

1Pet 4:2

1Pet 5:2

1Pet 5:3-6

Rom 12:16

Rom 12:21


Rom 14:17

Rom 15:1-2

Gal 6:3-4

Gal 6:8

Eph 5:4

Eph 5:11

Eph 5:18

Eph 6:4

Phil 2:3

Phil 2:21

Phil 3:3

Phil 4:6

Col 3:2

Col 3:5-10

1Thess 5:6

1Thess 5:15

1Tim 4:7

1Tim 6:11

1Tim 6:17

2Tim 1:17

Titus 2:11-12

James 1:22

1Pet 2:1-2

1Jn 3:18

1Jn 4:18

Acts 18:9

~ Jay E. Adams: Principles and Practices of Biblical Counseling; Institute for Biblical Studies, pp. 22-24.


Put-Off                                                               Put-On

Adultery                                                              Marital fidelity

Anger                                                                  Self-control

Argumentative/Quarrelsome                               Gentle Answer/Peace & Accord

Astrology                                                            Worship of God

Bad Companions                                                Godly Associations

Bitterness                                                            Tender hearted, forgiving

Blameshifting                                                      Responsibility

Bodily harm                                                        Glorify God in body

Burying talents                                                    Developing abilities

Boasting (conceit)                                               Esteeming others

Careless Talk                                                       Edifying Words

Carnal Entertainment                                          Please God

Cheating                                                              Honesty

Covetousness                                                      Contentment

Critical spirit                                                       Kindness

Complacency                                                      Zeal

Complaining                                                        Gratefulness

Depression                                                          Hope in God

Discontent                                                           Contentment

Disobedience                                                      Obedience

Disrespect for authority                                      Honor authority

Dissatisfaction                                                                Satisfaction

Divisive                                                               Peacemaker

Drunkenness                                                       Abstinence, self-control

Easily irritated                                                    Not easily provoked

Envious                                                               Rejoice with Others

Evil speaking                                                       Good report

Evil thoughts                                                       Pure thoughts

Favoritism                                                           Fairness

Faultfinding                                                        Patience

Feeling Oriented                                                 Commandment Oriented

Flirtation                                                             Gentle, quiet spirit

Fleshly music                                                      Edifying music

Following the crowd                                           God-fearing

Fornication                                                          Abstinence

Gambling                                                            Good stewardship

Gluttony                                                              Discipline

Gossip                                                                Edifying speech

Greed                                                                  Contentment

Guilt                                                                    Confession

Hatred                                                                Love

Homosexuality                                                    Moral purity

Hypocrisy                                                            Sincerity

Idle words                                                           Bridle tongue

Idolatry                                                               Worship God only

Immodest dress                                                   Modesty

Impatience                                                          Patience

Impulsive                                                            Thoughtfulness

Inferiority                                                            Position in Christ

Incest                                                                  Moral purity

Irritation to others                                               Preferring in love

Irresponsibility (family/work)                            Responsibility

Irreverence in church                                          Reverence

Inhospitable                                                        Hospitable

Insensitive                                                           Compassion

Jealousy                                                               Trust

Judging                                                               Let God search my heart

Left first Love                                                                Fervent devotion

Lack of rejoicing                                                 Rejoice

Lack of moderation                                            Temperance

Laziness                                                              Diligence

Losing temper                                                    Self-control

Love of money/greed                                          Love God

Lust                                                                     Pure desires

Lying                                                                   Speak truth

Masturbation                                                       Sanctification

Menpleasing                                                        Please God

Moral impurity                                                    Moral purity

Murder                                                                            Love

Murmuring/complaining                                      Praise

Neglect of Bible study                                        Bible study/meditation

No burden for the lost                                                    Compassion/witnessing

Opinionated                                                        Slow to Speak

Pleasure Seeker                                                   Enjoy God’s Pleasures

Pornography                                                        Pure thoughts

Prayerlessness                                                    Praying

Pride                                                                    Humility

Procrastination                                                    Diligence

Profanity                                                             Pure speech

Preferential treatment                                        Love neighbor as self

Presumption on the future                                   Trust God’s will

Rebellion                                                              Submission

Retaliation                                                            Return good for evil

Selfishness                                                           Self denial

Self Pity                                                               Faith

Slothfulness                                                         Wholeheartedness

Smoking                                                               God’s Temple

Status Seeker                                                       Servants Heart

Stealing                                                                Work/giving

Stinginess                                                             Generosity

Strife/contention                                                  Peace

Stubbornness                                                        Brokenness

Temporal values                                                   Eternal value

Unbelief                                                               Faith

Undisciplined                                                       Self-Control

Unfaithfulness                                                                 Faithfulness

Unforgiving spirit                                                Heart Forgiveness

Ungratefulness                                                     Gratefulness

Undependable                                                     Trustworthy

Unloving                                                              Serve Others

Vindictive                                                            Bless Your Enemy

Witchcraft/Horoscopes                                        Worship of God

Worldly entertainment                                         Spiritual pursuits

Worry/fear                                                            Trust

Wrath                                                                   Soft answer

Wrong friends                                                     Godly friends

Wrong motives                                                     Spiritual motives

~ Online source includes links to specific verses:

One Response

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on March 31, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


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