And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
The end of Romans chapter 13 is a challenge to Christians of all ages. And, as we can see things pointing to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus, this challenge is even more important for us now than it was when the Apostle Paul first penned it.
“And that, knowing the time…” We do know the time. We can look around and see the world coming apart at the seams. We can look at recent history and see prophecies being fulfilled and the stage being set for the return of Jesus. We can easily see and discern the time. And because we “know the time,” the next phrase is even more important:
“…that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…” Because we can see that we are likely living in one of the late hours of human history, we need to awake out of our sleep. Many Christians today are asleep. We are told to “rest in the Lord,” but I think many of us are doing a little too much “resting” and not enough labouring.
There are many things that need to be done for the Lord. We can’t do them if we are “asleep.” We need to wake up. As the end of the verse says, “…for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” We are closer than ever to seeing the Lord Jesus. We are closer today than we were yesterday. We will closer tomorrow than we are today. Are we awake and preparing for this? Or are we asleep?
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
In this passage on the importance of Christian love, we come to verse 10: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” There are many things that love does – it puts others ahead of ourselves. It help others. It is honest with others. It does whatever it can to help others. But there are also things that love does not do. This verse tells us that love works no ill to his neighbour.
When we love our neighbour with the Christian love that we ought to be loving him or her with, we are not going to “work ill” in their lives. We are not going to try not to bring bad things, thoughts, attitudes or habits into their lives. We are to be a good and positive influence in their lives, not a negative influence.
Love is a many faceted thing. It is not simply the emotional “love” that we see on TV and read about in books. It is doing right to people and being a positive influence in their lives. Loving others is all about having a right relationship with other people as we have a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we look at the Biblical definition of love, are we truly loving others today as we ought?
I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence. for thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
After telling us that he is praising the Lord with his whole heart, he is showing forth all of the Lord’s marvellous works and that he has made the decision to be glad, to rejoice in the Lord and to sing praises to His name, the Psalmist turns his attention to his enemies: “When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.”
The Psalmist understands that he is on the right side of the battle between good and evil. He understands that there are those who hate the Lord and who hate everything that is good, right and true. Those people often seem to be in the majority, especially in our modern world. But the Psalmist knows that God has everything under control. He understands that the enemies of the Lord (and, by extension, the enemies of the Psalmist) will eventually fall before Him and be destroyed.
It is good and comforting to know that we are the winning side. There is a song out there that says “I am on the winning side.” The Psalmist knew and was comforted by this fact. We can be too!
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Much is made of the “law” and the “commandments.” But Jesus here gives us a simplification of the law and the commandments. He says that “…if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” That is a huge simplification of the law.
We are supposed to love other people like we love ourselves. We can say whatever we want to say, but we do love ourselves. We love ourselves a lot. We pamper ourselves. We try to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. We try to give ourselves what we want. We always try to help ourselves in whatever way possible.
We need to love other people like that. We go to great lengths to make sure that we are never hungry. Do we go to the same lengths to see that others never go hungry? We do everything we can to help ourselves. Do we do everything we can to help others? We work hard for ourselves and for our future. Do we work hard for others and for their future?
How are we doing at fulfilling the law in this way? Do we love others like we love ourselves? If we are honest, we would probably have to say that we really don’t. I think we all have work to do in this area.
Owe no man any things, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
In this verse, we find an interesting truth – “…he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” We are told over and over again in the Scripture that we are to be loving people. We are to love other Christians. We are to love those who are not Christians. We are even to love our enemies. But what does it mean to love another?
I think that, to simplify things as much as possible, we can say this: “love means doing right to/by ____.” When we love someone, we are going to do right to them and by them. That means different things for different people. I am going to love my wife by doing right to her and by her. I am going to love my friends and co-workers by doing right to them and by them. I am going to love my neighbors by doing right to them and by them. I am going to love the stranger I pass on the street by doing right by them and to them.
We love our parents by honoring and obeying them. We love our children by teaching them and training them in the way of the Lord. We love our friends and family by being honest with them, praying for them and helping them. We may love people in slightly different ways, but we love them all by doing what we are supposed to do for them and to them.
That kind of love is, in the words of this verse, fulfilling the law. That kind of love is what we should be striving for as Christians. How are we doing at loving people?
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
There is a battle that is raging all around us. Sometimes we may not even be aware that it exists. But it does exist and we are all involved. It is the battle between good and evil.
This verse tells us to “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” There is good and evil. And one is going to overcome the other. We know that, in the end, the Lord Jesus (and good) will ultimately triumph. But, in the “little battles” that are fought every day, either may win or lose.
We are to use good to overcome evil. There is much evil in the world today. We can see it all around us every day. But our good is supposed to be so strong that it overcomes the evil. Like the shining light on the top of the lighthouse breaks through the darkness and gloom, our “good” is supposed to shine through and overcome the darkness.
But how often is it the other way around? How often do Christians allow evil to overcome their good? We are to be shining lights in this world. But so many Christians have let their lights become dim. When Christians don’t let their lights shine, the evil in the world overcomes the good.
What are we doing today? Are we helping the cause of good, truth and right? Or are we allowing the evil in the world to overcome us? How brightly is our light shining today? With all of the evil in the world, we need to be shining as brightly as we can!