Ascended Lord Jesus, you are the pioneer of my salvation, the one who delivers me.
Love Fulfills the Law
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Day Is Near
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[c]
- Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deut. 5:17-19,21
- Romans 13:9 Lev. 19:18
- Romans 13:14 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’1 What might obedience to Christ’s words mean for you today?
We are to live peaceably, submitting to the law of the land, but supreme for the Christian believer is to live in accordance with God’s rule of love (v 8). Yes, pay your debts in human society, but above all love one another as Christ taught his disciples. Paul’s quotation of the second part of the Ten Commandments appeals to his Jewish Christian listeners – love is ‘the fulfillment of the law’ (v 10) – and also to Gentile disciples who know that Jesus spoke of loving God and neighbor as fulfillment of the law.2 God’s law of love is pre-eminent, the guiding code of our lives, enabling the well-being of others and the honoring of God.
And the context for this living? The church in Rome had been living in a time of relative freedom. So often in human experience, such times bring complacency and ‘slumber’ (v 11), but Paul already sees that difficult times are ahead and he calls the church to wake up. Growing threats to our faith prompt us to think ahead to the coming fulfillment of our salvation in Christ (vs 11,12). Perhaps, like these early Christians, we also need to wake up. Our time left for serving God here on earth may be more limited than we had thought.
How then should we live? Paul uses his familiar images of ‘putting off’ our old selves and ‘putting on’ Christ (vs 12–14).3 He waves the flag of God’s love, encouraging us to take off ‘the deeds of darkness’ (vs 12,13) and take decisive action in Christ (v 14). We may be Christian leaders, but are there things in this list which we need to put aside (dissension? jealousy? ‘desires of the flesh’?)? Think of the person of Christ and his life on earth. How might we clothe ourselves in him (v 14)?
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s love for others. Praise God for his love for you.
Merciful One, I long to stand firm for you in the face of daily temptation and pressure, Thank you for your armor that enables me to win the battle.
1 John 13:34 2 Matt 22:37–40 3 E.g. Eph 6:11,13; Col 3:5–10,12–14
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Last Updated on August 20, 2022 by kingstar