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Put on Christ (Romans 13:8-14)

Romans 13:8–14 - 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, Paul reminds believers that loving one another fully satisfies God’s law (v. 8). He explains that commands against adultery, murder, stealing and coveting are summed up by genuine love (vv. 9-10). Knowing the urgent times we live in, Paul exhorts followers of Christ to wake up from spiritual slumber. Instead of participating in the immoral behaviors of this dark world, we must live honorably as children of the light (vv. 11-13). He challenges us to reject self-indulgent deeds that cater to fleshly desires and instead clothe ourselves with Christlike virtues. We must make no room for gratifying sinful passions but rather imitate our Savior’s obedience, even through suffering (v. 14). How can I apply Romans 13:8-14 to my life? Paul challenges believers to fully understand God’s desires for how followers of Christ should live. While God graciously saves us not because of our own righteous works but because of faith in Jesus, that salvation should spur us on to holy living that lines up with God’s standards. Our conduct carries great weight because we represent Christ to a watching world. Therefore, Paul exhorts us in this passage to carefully examine aspects of our lives that may not exemplify sincere love, purity, and wholehearted obedience to God. Let us humbly and prayerfully consider putting off behaviors that contradict God’s commands and putting on practices reflecting the heart of Jesus. As we explore this firm but loving charge, may the Spirit guide us into truth that produces genuine life transformation. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Love Others Sacrificially to Satisfy God's Law (vv. 8-10): Paul teaches that fulfilling God's law comes through loving one another. While obeying rules has its place, genuine love for others should be the guiding motivation behind our obedience. Simply avoiding what is prohibited does not fully capture God's desires for how we live. We must pursue sacrificial service, going out of our way to lift burdens and meet needs of those around us. Seeking the good of others demonstrates Christ's love and fulfills righteousness in a way rule-keeping alone cannot. Loving others will lead us to not commit adultery, murder, steal, or covet because we see them as precious beings created in God's image rather than objects to be used. The law finds its true fulfillment not just when we avoid doing harm, but when we actively pursue doing good for the glory of God and the blessing of others. So examine the motives of your heart. Are you coldly avoiding wrong or passionately pursuing help and healing for others? Make it your aim to let love flow, meeting needs and serving those God brings across your path. This honors the Lord and fulfills His perfect will (Ephesians 5:1-8, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Hebrews 13:16).

Food for Thought: What specific actions can you take this week to sacrificially serve and meet needs around you? Is there a relationship where simply avoiding wrongs is not enough to fulfill righteousness? What proactive steps can you take to demonstrate Christlike love?

  1. Walk in the Light by Living Honorably Despite Surrounding Darkness (vv. 11-13): In contrast to the evil behaviors of this dark world, followers of Christ are called to live honorably as children of the light. Though darkness pervades, we must not use that as an excuse to hide our light under a basket. Believers have put off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Therefore, we ought to reflect Christ’s light through upright conduct no matter how much sin rages around us. Do not think you can walk the line between light and darkness by engaging in society’s sins privately while maintaining a holy facade publicly. God desires sincerity and truth throughout our inner being. So reject behaviors driven by lust, hatred, selfishness, or greed. Instead, with integrity, make it your aim to please the Lord alone in every aspect of life. Clothe yourself daily in Christlike virtues of righteousness, goodness, and truth. Let the light of godly morality blaze through an honorable life set apart from the world’s wicked ways (1 Corinthians 15:33-34, Ephesians 5:3-12, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8).

Food for Thought: Which areas of life do you need to re-evaluate to ensure your conduct lines up with the light? What safeguards can you implement to preserve sincere godly morality against surrounding sleaze?

  1. Say "No" to Fleshly Desires and "Yes" to Following Christ (v. 14): As believers, we face a daily inner battle between the cravings of our sinful flesh and the direction of Christ’s Spirit within. Too often we make provisions to gratify natural desires that displease our Lord. We must firmly refuse these inclinations, instead embracing the will of God. This means ruthlessly eliminating anything that caters to fleshly appetites, stirs up sinful passions or distracts spiritual focus. Replace these with righteous disciplines and wholesome activities that encourage intimacy with Christ. Train your tastes and choices to align with godliness, not fleshliness. Learn to savor prayer, scripture, and service over sensuality, sentimentality, or sloth. Let heavenly priorities govern how you use resources like time, abilities, and money. Purpose to walk by faith according to the Spirit, denying self along the way. Withdraw from things that inflame fleshly cravings. Then clothe yourself daily in Christ’s virtues as you follow His example. This imitates our Savior’s obedience to the Father (Galatians 5:16-25, Colossians 3:1-17, Titus 2:11-14).

Food for Thought: What specific "provisions" for your fleshly nature do you need to refuse? How can you purposefully train your desires and choices to align more with godliness? God makes it clear through Paul that He expects transformed lives from those who follow Jesus. Half-hearted obedience and inconsistent morality have no place for the children of light seeking to bear fruit in step with the Spirit. May we humbly submit all areas of conduct unto the Lordship of Christ, sincerely pursuing righteousness inside and out. Only through imitating Jesus can we fulfill God’s perfect standards summarized in one word: love. Our world desperately needs that selfless, pure agape modeled well. By walking in wisdom according to the Spirit, we can shine as lights and avoid the deeds of darkness plaguing society. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would search my heart and life for any areas out of sync with Your standards of love, integrity, and moral excellence summarized in Your holy law. Reveal to me provisions I have made to indulge sinful desires of the flesh that grieve Your Spirit. Give me strength to ruthlessly eliminate those things from my life. Replace fleshly appetites with cravings for Your presence, Your truth and opportunities to serve. Help me daily put on Christlike virtues of righteousness, goodness, truth and love. Make me sincerely honorable in all my conduct, reflecting the light of Jesus amidst encroaching darkness. Conform my thoughts, words, choices, and habits to mirror Your Son’s willing obedience to the cross. May I walk by Your power in wisdom, redeeming the evil days around me. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Romans 13:14 – “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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