The book of Romans is considered one of the most theological dense letter in the Bible, Most people turn to its pages to talk about the “-tions,” aka, justification, sanctification, glorification, predestination, etc. But the end of the book has some of the most practical applications of any of Paul’s letters.
In chapter 13:8-10, Paul summarizes the law, he say’s
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Hopefully, this sounds really familiar, Paul isn’t saying anything new, he is simply repeating the teaching of Jesus that we see in the gospels. Paul then continues his point in verse 11,
11 And do this because we know the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers. 12 The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light. 13 Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.
In verse 11, Paul connects loving our neighbor to godly living. He states that the age we are currently living in is right before the dawn of the full kingdom of God. The day refers to the time where believers will be united with Jesus forever in the new heaven and new earth. Think about what happens each morning, you wake up and get ready for the day. Therefore as believers approaching the day, it’s time for us to wake up and be prepared for action.
We wake up and are ready for action by living a godly life, its time to put away the evil of the night and live as the day. This is still easy to see today. When you think about the time where dark conduct happens, its at night. When are bars and clubs are most busy? The night. It’s the same as in Paul’s day. His list in verse 13 gives descriptions to the kind of behavior seen at night, and essentially he is talking about all sin.
In verse 14, Paul tells us, to live a godly life, we have to live as if we are in the day. To do that, we must put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In John’s gospel, he tells us that Jesus is the light. It’s only in the light of Jesus that darkness and sin are exposed, dealt with, and victory happens.
Saint Augustine is an early church father and theologian who lived between 350-430 AD. Before becoming a follower of Jesus, he was a highly educated man, studying under some amazing philosophers. However, he found he could never overcome sin in his life. He knew there were things in his life that were evil, but he couldn’t overcome them. He became an expert and tried many different worldviews of the day, but nothing worked. He started to see Christians overcoming sin in their lives and couldn’t fathom how these “uneducated” people could have victory, but he couldn’t. He eventually became a Christian and learned how to overcome sin in his life. He writes that what he learned was that knowledge alone does not guarantee spiritual victory over sin and this was awoken when he read Romans 13:13-14, that only through putting on Christ can victory over sin take place. That knowledge does not equal victory, only Jesus does.
Church family, I encourage you this week to wake up and live in the day to find victory over sin in Jesus. Spend some extra time investing in your relationship with Jesus this week.
For His Glory,