The most wonderful week of the year is upon God’s Church. This is holy week and it is all about God’s unconditional love towards all people. God could not have shown how much He loves His creation more than allowing His only Son to become like you and me, and to die for you and me. We need saving from sin and Jesus chose to be the sacrificial Lamb to end the power of sin which leads to death.
Over 2,000 years have passed and God continues to shed grace and mercy on us despite how often we neglect Him. A day is coming, though, when Jesus will return to take care of the enemy who is running around helping people to neglect God.
Paul shares in Romans 13:8-14 the urgency to love while there is time. He doesn’t want you to be caught off guard by living blase’ towards the things of God. Paul doesn’t want you to miss what Jesus is doing within your midst because your eyes wander and your ears are tuned into what the world says. “Life is busy and I don’t have time for Him,” you might think and say. Paul doesn’t want you to remain disinterested in God where you don’t bother to seek Him. Paul does want you to reprioritize your life where Jesus is first.
What does this look like?
Paul begins with a simple statement, “Owe nothing to anyone, except for your obligation to love one another.” God gave His all to you with Jesus. You are to follow His example and love the same way.
What is Paul referring to when he says to owe nothing to anyone? From biblehub.com, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, it says, “When you have paid all your other debts, taxes, customs, and reverence, and whatever else you may owe, there will still be one debt unpaid, the universal debt of love. Love must remain the root and spring of all your actions. No other law is needed.”
Love is so important. Love originates from God for He is love; see 1 John 4:7-8. Celebrating Easter this week-end is rooted in love. Jesus sprang into action by coming to us, walking among us, experiencing life on earth, to become our Lord and Savior. Why? Because He loved us with everlasting love; see Jeremiah 31:3 and Psalm 103:17. As God’s children, we are called to love others before ourselves; see John 13:34-35, Philippians 2:3, and 1 Corinthians 10:23-24.
“If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.”8
From Romans 10:4, you learn that Jesus is the culmination of the law. Paul states in verse 10 of Romans 13, “Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Stop and meditate on the love that the Trinity has for you during this holy week.
Paul moves on to the urgency in loving like Christ. Time is running out! “Wake up for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.”11b-12a Yes, Jesus is returning to bring His Church home with him on a corporate level before He judges Satan and sin. Until then, Jesus does return daily on a personal level to take people off this earth one by one. No one knows when their time is up, so Paul says to wake up and make your life count for Christ today.
The dark deeds spoken of in verse 12 are deeds done in your own strength and in your own ways. You trust yourself more than God with your life. God may be a part of your life, but He isn’t your life. Every believer is called to “put on the shining armor of right living. Live decent lives for all to see.”12-13 Every believer is called to not participate in the ways of the world; see verse 13 for examples.
Set yourself apart and “clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.”14
Then, and only then, will you faithfully love others while there is time.