V88Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled [the] law.. Getting into debt is easy to do. It is even presented as an attractive option. You don’t have to deny yourself a little luxury. Borrow some money at a low rate of interest and your life will be more pleasant. With reasoning like this, many people have incurred deep debts. A Christian is permitted to have only one real debt, and that’s a debt that will never be repaid here on earth – to love one another. Loving others is the fulfillment of the law.
V9-109For 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.”10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of [the] law.. The law prohibits a number of things that could be to someone’s disadvantage. But love hurts no one. So, one who loves others will not injure them.
‘But’, you say, ‘I don’t live under the law any longer. It was clear from Romans 7 that I have been freed from the law.’ This is true and these verses do not contradict this. They say if you love others, you will do nothing prohibited by the law. In this way you fulfill the law. Love is not an achievement you reach because the law asks you to do this. Love is the expression of the new life that seeks to do good to others. If you seek another person’s well-being and not his ill, then clearly you will fulfill the law automatically, so to speak.
V11-1211[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.12The 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.. Next we are given an extra reason to fulfill this responsibility of loving each other – the coming of the Lord Jesus. In his first letter, Peter also connects these two things: the coming of the Lord and loving each other. In 1 Peter 4 he first writes about the end of all things and then about loving each other (1Pet 4:77The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober [spirit] for the purpose of prayer.).
Thus, it is time to wake up from your sleep, to stand up. Wipe clean your eyes and look how much the night has advanced because it is a pitch-black night in the world. Night indicates the spiritual darkness that has come in by sin. But the day is close; the day will break when the Lord Jesus appears in this world. In Malachi 4 He is called “the Sun of righteousness” (Mal 4:22“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.). David, in his last words, speaks of Him as “the light of the morning [when] the sun rises” when “a morning without clouds” begins (2Sam 23:44Is as the light of the morning [when] the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
[When] the tender grass [springs] out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.’
). Every eye will see Him then (Rev 1:77Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.).
Every day brings you closer to that moment. You’re now closer to it than when you first believed. If your “salvation is nearer” now, this implies in a certain sense you’re not saved yet. Your salvation isn’t complete yet, for the salvation of your body is still in the future. Romans 8 says we’re saved in hope (Rom 8:2424For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he [already] sees?).
So when it says here that you’re not yet saved, this has to do with the dangers that exist and the battle still to be waged. To overcome in this battle you must obey the orders of headquarters. Listen carefully to the orders here. You have to “cast off” something and “put on” something else.
First let’s consider the casting off. We are to “lay aside the deeds of darkness” because they belong to the night. Every kind of sin is a deed of darkness. Is there anything left in your life you know to be sin? Break with it! You can do this by mentioning this sin to the Lord and telling Him you’ve been wrong about it. Ask Him to help you not give in again to that sin. In Proverbs 28 there is a great encouragement to confess transgressions that says: “He who confesses and forsakes [them] will find compassion” (Pro 28:1313He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes [them] will find compassion.
When you’ve done this, there will be room for the “armor of light”. You can put this armor on. These weapons are different from the ones used by the world. The weapons of light are spiritual weapons. The Lord Jesus calls Himself the light. You’ll get these weapons from Him and He will instruct you on how to use them to overcome. In the Gospels you can see how He used them. The devil tempted Him for forty days and nights. Then finally he tried his last three temptations, but the Lord Jesus beat the devil, saying: “It is written.”
V1313Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.. Once you have cast off and put on, then comes an exhortation to walk in a proper way. The characteristics mentioned in verse 1313Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. can be abundantly found in the world, but they are not appropriate for you. You don’t belong to the darkness where the sins of verse 1313Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. reign supreme; you belong to the day. In your life “the Sun of righteousness” has already risen. You may walk in the light of that Sun who is the Lord Jesus.
V1414But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts.. Then you’re exhorted to put on not only the armor of light, but also the Lord Jesus Himself. He is named here with His full name. To put Him on means the same as (maybe it sounds irreverent, but this is the meaning) putting on a jacket that can be seen by others. By thinking highly of yourself and being busy with yourself, dirty spots are going to mar and ruin that beautiful jacket. When the Lord Jesus comes, then it will be too late for everyone who did not choose Him. But you and I may display Him to the world today. What a blessing it would be if this brought others to know Him and accept Him as their Savior and Lord.
Now read Romans 13:8-14 again.
Reflection: How do you notice that it’s night in the world and how can you let your light shine?