Romans 13: 8 – 10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Paul left off in the last section of chapter 13 saying to do good, to participate in civil life by paying taxes, purchasing goods and services, and being a person who respects and honors others. Here Paul further encourages us to live a life of love toward our neighbors. He is saying to actively love the people you do life with and the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. Remember God is after our hearts ultimately. Hearts that do all the right things without love are not the kind of hearts He is transforming us into.
Romans 13: 11-14 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 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.
It’s time to wake up and love! If we are going to be people who actually make a difference in the world around us. If we are those who know that God is sovereign and no matter what government we live under, we will submit to giving over our desire for vengeance and let Him deal with those who do wrong. We can then participate in civil life among the people with love on our lips and in our hearts. The only way to do that – to participate in civil life – is if we are awake. What are the laws of our land, what are our rights, and what does God say? If we don’t know this we can not make informed decisions to submit to authority or to follow what God says. We can live our whole lives talking, hearing, walking, singing, and thinking while being asleep to our lives. Living on autopilot, like sleepwalkers. Therefore cast off darkness. Get out of your old pajamas and put on proper wear for the day! Actively put on the armor of light. Put on Christ-like character and do not indulge the flesh. Don’t let your body with all its desires tell you what to do. Jesus has done all that was necessary. The Holy Spirit living in us is the power to do it.
God used this passage to show Augustine, the great theologian of the early church, that he really could live the Christian life as empowered by the Holy Spirit – he just had to do it.
And so do we.
And we are back to the beginning in chapter 12 of why we must: PRESENT YOUR BODIES AS A LIVING SACRIFICE. When we present ourselves, we are essentially saying, God I can’t do this life of loving my neighbors, being a civil servant, and living with my eyes wide open without You. This attitude of humility puts us in a prime space for the Holy Spirit’s power to flow and make it possible as we go.
Thanks for Listening,