“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).

 

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Continued from My Roman Holiday: Romans 12.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). Romans 13 is a comparatively short chapter, but don’t let its size deceive you, because it is rich with meaning and significance. Love [Jesus] is the fulfillment of the law, and the apostle Paul explains that love never seeks to harm another; instead, love seeks the welfare and honor of all. Moreover, the word used for love in Romans, with only one exception (12:10), is agapē, which signifies a deep, unselfish, superhuman affection. As Paul transitions from love to the Day of the Lord, he recalls The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-12). While the wise virgins went in with the Bridegroom to the wedding banquet, the door was closed to the rest. I believe this is an urgent point Paul is stressing to his readers in his conclusion and why he writes: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:13-14).

Romans 13 is full of any number of other revelations and wonderful truths worth exploring, but I have written what I believe the Holy Spirit has guided me to write.

Romans 13 speaks into our lives today; we are called to be prepared for the Bridegroom’s return, but what of those of us who are like the unwise virgins. The notion that the wise virgins refer to those of us inside the church, while the unwise virgins refer to those on the outside, is probably a far more common misunderstanding of the parable than we realize. Romans 13 is an urgent call to the church to love, but not love as humans understand love; rather, the Bridegroom calls His bride to agapē. Our love of God manifests itself in obedience, and that obedience bears witness to whom we serve. Therefore, let us dare not conform to the pattern of this world, or even worse, instruct others to do so, for that wouldn’t be love at all. Until next time, and Romans 14!

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