Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 13:8-12
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 13:8
v8 (continued): The greatest danger the church in Rome faced was not persecution from without, but disintegration from within. It wasn’t what unbelievers might do to them, but what believers were doing to each other that threatened their very existence. Paul appears to be responding to reports that some in the church were engaged in ungodly behavior with other members of the church, including sexual immorality and violence. As we read over this section (Ro 13:8-14) it sounds like there had been incidents of people sleeping with another person’s spouse, of angry, maybe even murderous reprisals, of theft, and of wild, lustful drinking parties.

Monday: Romans 13:8, 9
vs8-9: Such flagrant violations of God’s commandments were sure to produce “strife and jealousy” (v13), tear apart relationships, lift God’s active presence, and ruin the church’s reputation in the city. But Paul is not their founding apostle, as he was with other churches to which he writes (Ro 15:15, 16), so he is not as comfortable demanding specific discipline as he did with Corinth, for example (1Co 5:1-6:10). What he does in this case is to remind them that obedience to Jesus’ command to “love one another” (Mt 22:34-40; Jn 13:34, 35; 15:12, 17) will cause them to obey the Ten Commandments as well as the other non-ritual commands in the Law of Moses. Loving one’s neighbor as oneself prevents us from sleeping with our “neighbor’s” spouse or murdering them or lusting after the
blessings God gave them.

Tuesday: Romans 13:10
v10: Love (agape) does not do evil to one’s “neighbor”, but causes us to treat others the way we would want them to treat us. This, says Jesus and Paul, is the behavior God sent the Law of Moses to produce in us in the first place (Mt 7:12). By showing us the direct connection between Jesus’ command to love and the Law of Moses, Paul makes it clear that the same standard of behavior is expected of a believer whether their background is Jew or Gentile. Just because the Law cannot make us righteous does not mean it has no role in our lives. It provides specific examples of what loving others really looks like. God never has, nor will, discard the moral standards of His Law. As Paul has already shown us in chapters 7 and 8, God has now empowered us through the atonement and indwelling Spirit to obey the Law, not ignore it (Ro 2:13-15; 8:4).

Wednesday: Romans 13:11
v11: Anyone who violates God’s moral standards, as flagrantly as was apparently being done in Rome (v13), has lost most or all of their fear of God. Any real expectation that they will be held accountable for their actions must have receded in their thinking so far into the future that it no longer restrains behavior. Jesus made it abundantly clear how He wants His disciples to think. He said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father alone” (Mt 24:36). Then He gave us several examples of people being caught off-guard by the sudden arrival of God’s judgment (Mt 24:36-51). Basically, He tells us, you don’t know when I’ll return, so live each day as if I might arrive any minute. When I come, I will evaluate your lifestyle and judge those whose behavior proves them to be hypocrites.

Thursday: Romans 13:11
v11 (continued): Paul himself did not know when Jesus is coming back. He knew prophetic signs to look for (2Th 2:1-12), and because the “antichrist spirit” expresses itself in every age, some more than others, he recognized expressions of it taking place in the age in which he lived (1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 3:1-5). In obedience to his Lord’s command, he too lived in constant expectation of Jesus’ sudden return (1Co 16:22; 1Th 4:13-5:11). And since he wrote this letter around AD58 he knew that Day was at least decades closer than it had been on the day Jesus ascended into heaven (Ac 1:9-11).

Friday: Romans 13:11
v11 (continued): Paul wanted believers in Rome to have this same expectation, but some, like the young women in Jesus’ parable, had apparently fallen asleep waiting for the Bridegroom’s return (Mt 25:5). They were no longer watching for Him with faith burning brightly in their hearts. They felt little urgency to repent because in their minds His return was so far in the future they did not need to prepare for it. To correct this attitude Paul tells them to recognize the “season” in which they were living. It is the “hour” in God’s plan for the earth when it is still possible to awaken from this kind of spiritual stupor. To put it in Isaiah’s words we are in “the favorable year of the Lord”. (Isa 61:2; Lk 4:19). God’s mercy is still readily available but “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa 61:2) is sure to follow when only His justice will be administered. Those who had become lawless in Rome needed to recognize the spiritual season they were in. Grace was still available, but such grace would not be available forever.

Saturday: Romans 13:11, 12
vs11-12: “For now our salvation is closer than when we believed.” He wanted them to see that the prophetic clock was ticking. The “night” of unbelief and evil had notably progressed which, in a manner similar to the cycle of day and night, meant God’s “sunrise” had also drawn closer. He warned them, “the day has drawn near…” referring to the return of Christ and His bringing to light everything that has been hidden so that it can be judged. Paul appealed to them to “cast off the works of darkness” and “put on the armor of light.” He lists some of their “works of darkness” in verse 13. These are the kinds of behaviors done by people who live in spiritual “darkness”, meaning they have no revelation and are deceived. Thankfully, in a parallel passage elsewhere, (1Th 5:1-8) he defines what he means by the “armor of light”. There he tells “sons of light” to put on “the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet, the hope of salvation”. Faith, love and hope will act like a suit of armor to defend them against temptation.

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