In several places in the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us to put off the old nature and to put on the “new man”, the “new nature”, or as in the case here in Romans 13:14, the “Lord Jesus Christ.” It is evident that this theme is foremost in the great apostle’s mind. It is dear to his heart. He wants believers to be real Christians!
Romans 12:2 enjoins believers to “be transformed”. The Greek verb Paul used here is metamorpho?, (from which we get our English metamorphosis), and it means, “to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure” (Thayer).
Interestingly, Matthew, the gospel writer, uses the exact same word to describe Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-2, “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured (metamorphoo) before them…” The transformation was so radical that the Bible told us that “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light”.
If we are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” we need to undergo this kind of transformation. This kind of transformation entails a complete inner change, a renewing of the mind, and of the inner disposition; better still, of the heart, the inner being. In other words become “a new man”.
Jesus taught this truth by using the metaphor of the good and bad trees. According to the Lord Jesus Christ, a tree is either “good” or “bad.” Every man is either a “thorn bush” or a “grapevine,” a “fig” or a “thistle.”
Every man is either a “good tree” or a “bad tree”. And good trees bear good fruits and bad trees bear bad fruits. Jesus states with absoluteness: “Every good tree produces good fruit”.
Beloved of the Lord, let no one deceive you with empty words and do not deceive yourself into thinking that some good trees bear bad fruit. According to the Lord Jesus Christ it never happens! Though the Christian sins and stumbles in many ways, his life is inevitably characterized by good fruit, not by “thorns and thistles.” Lest there should be any doubt about this, the Lord states it even more emphatically and specifically in Matthew 7:18, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit”.
Dear Christian brother and sister, are you a “good tree”?
It is a biblical truth that apart from Jesus Christ none of us has any goodness whatsoever. In that sense, “No one is good except God alone”. But beloved, we are not apart from Christ! When we come to believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit regenerates us and gives us a new (good) nature.
Now we have to live the new transformed life and show that good fruit!
Pastor Robert Chew