Mighty God, fill my heart with joy and wonder as I travel the ordinary paths of life today. In them, may I catch a sight of You.
Read Romans 13:8-14
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Our calling is to live in the light of Christ’s return. We must behave in the continuing night as if the day had dawned, to enjoy the ‘now already’ (inaugurated kingdom) in the certain knowledge that what is still ‘not yet’ (consummated kingdom), will arrive soon” (John R. W. Stott).
Paul continues to explore the practical implications of this new life by referring to the Law again–but this time in positive terms. As we have seen, when the Law becomes a list of petty dos and don’ts, then it trips us up and only shows up sin (See Isa. 28:10). But when the Law is understood rightly, as showing how the bigger principles work out in practice, then it is of value. After all, Paul is here (9) quoting from the Law (Lev. 19:18), and he has in these chapters been giving precisely this kind of detailed instruction, showing what it means in practice to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices” (12:1).
This pattern of living has a backward-looking, fulfillment aspect to it. In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus has fulfilled the Law, and when we are “in” Christ (8:1), this is the life we now share in. There is also a forward-looking, anticipatory aspect: resurrection is a sign of the end of this age and the dawning of the promised new age of God and his Kingdom. So by living lives “clothed in Christ” (14), we are living in the light of the new age, even while the old age fades around us. We are signposts of the age to come!
Although Paul uses the language of salvation being “nearer” now (11), he does not appear to be concerned with anticipating an imminent return of Jesus. Elsewhere, he positively discourages this (1 Thess. 5:1,2). No, he is much more concerned that we realize that the old rules that applied to us before we knew Jesus simply don’t apply any more. We belong to the day, not to the night, just as Jesus did (see John 9:4,5) and so we live in the light of God’s love, no longer in the darkness of sin.
What habits or attitudes should you “put aside” (12)? What aspects of Jesus’ character should you “put on” (12,14)?
Lord, I need continued vigilance each day. Fill me with Your light and love as I seek to serve You.