Than When We First Believed

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.”

God is love, and love comes from God, so this “love” being spoken of here is going to align with God’s will and purpose for our lives. This is not an emotional love, although emotions can definitely be involved, but this love is not based on our feelings. It is shown by what we do. This love is from God and it means to prefer, so it is a choice of the will to love. But this has to do with preferring God, and preferring to live through Christ, embracing God’s will, and choosing his choices, and obeying them through his power.

Since God is love and this love comes from God, then this love will be holy, unadulterated, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, merciful, tenderhearted, morally pure, honest, and faithful, etc. So when we love one another with this love we are going to treat one another with kindness, and we are going to consider what is best for the people we are choosing to love. So we are not going to lie to them or take advantage of them or sin against them in any way. But we will do for them what is for their good.

And one other aspect about this kind of love is that, because it comes from God, and God is love, this love is going to have God’s perspective. So this isn’t all about just making people feel good, though it is great to receive words of encouragement. But sometimes this will mean having to exercise “tough love” where we have to set boundaries or speak the truth in love to someone because they need to hear the truth for their own good. And that is what the Scriptures do. They speak the truth in love to us.

So, if we are sharing the Scriptures with others, well, there are some hard truths in these Scriptures that not everyone wants to hear, but they need to hear. Jesus spoke many hard truths, and he had many people turn away from him because they found his words too hard to bear. But we can’t just share the Scriptures which make us feel good. We have to share the hard ones, too, because we need to hear them, because we need to be obeying them. And this is love when we speak these hard truths, too.

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.”

We are not saved once and then we are good to go to heaven when we die. The salvation that the Scriptures teach is progressive. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be complete. So this is why this says that our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed, because it will not be completed until Jesus takes his bride to be with him for eternity.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 8:24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Gal 5:16-21; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6;24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

And this is conditional, too. We can’t just merely mouth a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and now heaven is guaranteed us when we die. We must now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We must daily be dying to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. Sin must not be our practice (habit), but righteousness and obedience to our Lord must be what we practice. And we must remain steadfast in these walks of faith and in obedience unto the very end.

So, we are to be diligent in our walks of faith in saying, “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and in remaining morally pure, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. We must be so careful to not get lazy about our spiritual walks nor to let sin slip right back into our lives. But if sin has slipped back into your life, then you must now cast off those works of darkness and you must put on the armor of light. You must once again walk in holiness and righteousness and not in sin.

For the Scriptures teach that if we walk in sin, if sin is what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God. But if we walk in righteousness, in practice, and in obedience to our Lord, then we have the hope of eternal life with God. So you must put off all sensuality and sexual immorality, which are running rampant in today’s modern “churches” (businesses) here in America. And you must put off all habitual and deliberate sin out of your lives so that you can walk properly. And now put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

The Last Mile of the Way

Songwriters: Sam Cooke

If I’m walking the pathway of duty,
If I work till the close of the day,
I shall see the great king in his beauty
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

If for Christ I proclaim the glad story,
If I see for his sheep gone astray,
I am sure he will show me his glory
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

When I’ve gone the last mile of the way,
I will rest at the close of day,
For I know, there are joys that await me
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

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