Friday, March 14, 2014

Romans 13:9-14 -- On Working No Ill.

"For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
Romans 13:9-14

This is interesting.  I like the idea that pretty much all commandments boil down to loving our neighbors. :)  Killing, stealing... those are pretty clear.  If you loved those people, you wouldn't do that to them.  Adultery too, since you have to love the person on the other end of the relationship you are getting in the middle of, as well as truly wanting the best for the person you are attracted to... and breaking up that person's marriage and family is probably actually not what is best for that person.  All of these sins that reach into other people's lives would get better if we truly loved everyone the way that we love ourselves, and truly worked to protect them from harm.  We hopefully wouldn't lie to them, because we want to know the truth, and we wouldn't covet their stuff if we truly loved them and could rejoice with them in their happiness.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbor.  That is such a great phrase.  If we love people, we don't do anything bad to them.  Hopefully we're even trying to make sure we don't say anything harshly to disturb their emotions... if we love other people the way that we love ourselves, then we care about that as well. :)
What struck me the most today was not the admonition to love though, but the second part which clarifies a little bit how we should love ourselves.  We need to cast off darkness and walk honestly.  No rioting and drunkenness... "chambering" in the language back then seems to be another reference to sexual sin... not being wanton, or promiscuous.  We need to avoid strife and envying.  These are all good things that can keep us from addiction and sin.  And then especially the last verse.  We put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and we make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  To me that means that part of loving ourselves is not leaving room for the bad while we embrace the good.  We fill ourselves with Christ, and we don't set anything aside to please ourselves.  And since we are loving other people as we love ourselves, that goes back to the way that we work with others.  We love them in a Christlike way so much, and we don't leave any room for selfishness in that relationship.  We don't have affairs with people because there is no room for that kind of selfishness.  We don't cheat or steal or kill because all of those things are selfish as well.  If we really put on Christ... fill ourselves with him, we can't leave room for any of the rest of it.
Today, let's love and work no ill, in ourselves or in others.  Let's fill ourselves with God and not set anything aside for ourselves.  Let's find out what it truly means to give ourselves wholly to God.

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