The people of Rome didn’t live in a world that didn’t have challenges. And even more so, there were experiences that the people of Rome had become accustomed to. Paul describes these experiences debauchery. So as we continue with , we see Paul remind that there are some areas of God’s standard that are fixed and are not to be changed or at the mercy of culture in some way.
Paul reminds us in other books/letters reminding us of God’s unchanging standard and how that relates to our lives. In Paul is very direct that we are sanctified and our lives should avoid sexual immorality and that we are to do what is right and present our bodies as holy and honorable. To know what is honorable, we need a standard to measure up to. And our upholding of God’s standard is independent of the unbelieving world. We can’t say, “Well at least I am more honorable than that unbelieving person.” Honor is measured only against God’s standard and nothing else. God wants us to live a holy life by living out a standard He has given.
In , Paul is more direct because he knew they were struggling with holding onto the past. He tells them to stop doing what they are doing. Paul says that they (culture and people in Ephisis) were ignorant, not because they didn’t know the information, but because they had hardened their hearts to the truth of God’s love. They lost all sensitivity, meaning they have been pushed themselves to the point where they don’t know the difference between right and wrong. They satisfy themselves, and that hunger grows and grows until every kind of impurity is used to try to satisfy.
This pattern in these passages leads us to . Paul was reminding them that what we do is leading us into eternity. We cannot get lost in the moment, which can lead us so easily away from God and into the pleasures of the world. But if we keep God’s standards, it points us to God’s ultimate, eternal purpose. It is then that we can seize the moment. Our faith in God, the acceptance of Jesus’ salvation, has awakened us from our slumber. Wake up! Don’t be haphazard
Our faith in God, the acceptance of Jesus’ salvation, has awakened us from our slumber. Wake up! Don’t be haphazard about your life. The time we have is short. The night is nearly over. So let us put away the deeds of darkness. The day is almost here, and we are called to put on the armor of light.
This would be a perfect place for Paul to just list a bunch of rules. But that isn’t what Paul does. Some people say that Christianity is just a list of rules, but that is a shallow description. We are to put on the armor of light, representing God in our culture.
Paul then describes examples that existed in the context of the Roman people. When people went down the road of self-gratification, it leads people to the full extremes and well into the darkness. Drunken parties, debauchery (doing what you want to do), sexual immorality, and ultimately leads to dissension and jealousy where everyone finds themselves against everyone else.
Our measurement of holiness isn’t how far we move into sin, but it is how far away from God we become. Who are you when you find yourself in the extreme areas of life? How can you answer these two questions?
- Who am I when no one is looking?
- Who am I when everyone is looking?
Hebrews tells us that everything is laid bare before God. Who are you going to be in those extremes?
In all things, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ. Focus on Jesus, and turn your eyes away from the desires of the flesh. So why does Paul have to say this? Because the Christians in Rome had to be struggling with this. When the world tries so hard to pull you into darkness, how will you respond?
Repentance means to turn away from those things that divide us from God, confessing to God our desire to turn away from sin and point ourselves to God and start living to God’s standard.
13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (ESV)
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. (ESV)
13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (ESV)
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. (ESV)
13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. (ESV)
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)