I received the following question:

I want some help understanding these two verses:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:21

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  Romans 13:14

“Evil” means that which is bad, harmful, calamitous. It is also used figuratively for actions which cause calamity, that is, sinful actions. We are not to be overcome by calamity and bad things that happen in our lives, whether or not they are caused by the sinful actions of men around us. Rather, we are to overcome such things with good. The examples of this and applications could be endless. They could range from someone who was abused as a child going out and working at or starting a ministry to abused children, to someone who is struggling with a sin that he is having trouble overcoming deciding to fill his life with serving God so he has no time to think about or be tempted by this sin. In context, it could refer to one who had had another do wrong to him responding back by doing good to that one who wronged him. Yet I do not think I would tie it down to just this. There are simply too many applications where overcoming evil with good would be a solution to many, many ills.

The second verse is in a passage that is speaking of the worthy walk of the believer, that is further outlined (and for this dispensation) in Ephesians 4-6. We are to “put on” the Lord Jesus like a garment, that is, put on His way of life that He prescribes for us. We do not leave openings for the lusts of the flesh, like “I will serve Christ most of the time, but I will serve the lusts of my flesh every Friday at 9:00PM.” No, we are to give ourselves wholly over to Christ. We are to serve Him all the time, not just some of the time. That is how we make no provision for our flesh.

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