Romans 13:8-10 ESV
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 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.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Love is from God
God is love. Love comes from God. Thus, if we love one another with this love, in our loving we are going to prefer (choose) what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, unadulterated, holy, just and upright. So, we will never approve of or agree with what is impure and dishonest.
So, this is not this “feel good” “mushy-gushy” kind of love which goes by one’s feelings and is afraid to say anything that may hurt someone’s feelings. This is a love which is self-sacrificial, and which is willing to be hated, rejected and abandoned in order to love others with God’s love.
This kind of love always has the best interests of others in mind, i.e., what is honestly what is good (wholesome, beneficial) for them in the mind and in the heart of God. So, this kind of love will never lie or compromise the truth in order to make others feel good about themselves.
So, if you love your spouse, for instance, you will not commit adultery against him/her and then lie to him/her about it. And adultery isn’t just physical relations with someone to whom you are not married, but it is lust in the mind, and it includes self-gratification, too (lusting after oneself).
And the bottom line in all of this is that love does no wrong to a neighbor (our fellow humans). Therefore, if we willfully and deliberately lie to (including white lies), cheat on, steal from, slander, abuse (mistreat), murder, and/or commit adultery against others, that is not love.
Romans 13:11-14 ESV
“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. 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. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Church, Wake Up!
So, who was Paul addressing here? He was addressing believers in Jesus Christ who apparently had drifted off into some type of stupor to where they were not walking with the Lord as they ought and to where they were engaging in evil deeds once again. He was telling them it is time to “wake up!”
And the Lord is saying the same thing today to his church who has fallen away from his will and design for her, and who has gone the way of the world. He is telling her to “wake up!” He is telling her to get back on track and to walk the walk that God saved her for and called her to.
So, what did he mean when he said, “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed”? How does that fit with what so many are teaching today, which is that we pray a prayer, or we acknowledge who Jesus is or what he did for us, and we are saved and secured no matter what?
If we read the New Testament, in context, book by book and verse by verse, we soon realize that the salvation that many of us were taught in our youth is not exactly the same as what is taught in the Scriptures. We aren’t saved, done deal, and now we live on this earth, and we go to heaven when we die.
And heaven is not a place where most everyone goes when they die, either. And it is not a place after this life where we can rejoin our friends and throw a party just like what is done on this earth, though this is what you will hear at many funerals. Heaven is not like the earth. Most people won’t be there.
To the Finish Line
For those of us who are genuinely believing in Jesus Christ, we were saved (past), we are being saved (present, ongoing), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns, and he takes us to be with him, and our marriage to him is consummated, and our salvation is complete.
So, what is required of us so that we make it to the “finish line”? We must be those who are putting off the flesh, by the Spirit, and who are daily putting on the armor of God and his holiness and righteousness. We are to no longer live like we did before we believed in Jesus (Rom 8:1-17).
And “putting off the flesh” doesn’t mean we live in it (make it our practice) but that we somewhat regularly confess our sins. It means we don’t keep going back to such sinful behaviors as orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, adultery, sensuality, and fighting amongst ourselves, etc. It means we walk away from such lifestyles and we now live for God.
So, what if we don’t? Will that affect our eternal salvation? According to Scripture? Yes! And that is because our salvation will not be complete until Jesus returns, so we must continue in Christ and abide in his word and put off the deeds of darkness and walk in the light according to the Spirit.
For, if we don’t, and we keep on living to please the flesh, doing what we want to do while ignoring God’s commands to us, the Scriptures are quite clear that we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God. So, please examine what these Scriptures teach, and please obey the Lord.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 6:44; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15, 21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]
More Than Words
For the past week or so the lyrics to this secular song have been playing in mind whenever I have sat down to write what the Lord is teaching me from his word each day. I don’t normally post lyrics to secular songs, and I admit that I struggled with whether or not I should post these words.
But you know what, this is God’s message to us, his church. And if this secular song says it, then God will use these words, for there is nothing inherently wrong with the words, and, in fact, they speak clearly to us God’s message to us.
Our Lord is not interested in our professions of faith and our confessions of him as Lord if our hearts are not surrendered to him, and if we are dishonoring him, ignoring his commands, and if we are going our own way and doing our own thing. He wants more than just our words. He wants our obedience, and he wants our hearts surrendered to him fully (Rom 12:1-2).
Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
Cos I’d already know
[BETTENCOURT, NUNO / CHERONE, GARY F.]