The Continuing Debt

Monday, July 01, 2013, 2:30 p.m. – the song “Great is the Lord” has been playing in my mind since early this morning. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 13:8-14 (NIV):

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 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. 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.

Love One Another

A debt is something that is owed someone; an obligation; duty; responsibility; and a requirement. It is not optional for a Christian. We are commanded to love one another as Christ loved us, as well as we are commanded to love others as we love ourselves. That’s a tall order! Yet, through the power, love, compassion, kindness and faithfulness of Christ living within us, it can be done, though not one of us will ever do it perfectly while we still live in these flesh bodies.

So, how did/does Christ love us? First of all, he thought about others and their needs, and he ministered to people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Healing was a big part of his ministry when he walked the face of this earth, as well as was teaching. He always told the truth, and he was never phony with people. He was who he was no matter who he was with. He was no chameleon, i.e. he did not blend in with his surroundings in order to fit in or to be accepted. He had very strong convictions, and he stuck to them. He was kind and compassionate, but he also spoke the truth in love. He did not placate sin, but he confronted sin in sinful human beings, though he did so in love. He called people to repentance, warned of judgment, told them they must die to their old lives in order to follow him, and he said we show him and the Father we love them by our obedience. And, he gave his life on the cross for our sins so we could go free from sin and death (eternity without God). We do this when we share the true gospel of salvation, risking rejection and death.

How do we love ourselves? We make sure we have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over our heads, if at all possible, so we first of all make sure that our basic needs are met. Beyond that, it really depends upon the culture in which we live, our financial status, and/or the political environment of our country of origin, et al, as to how much we do for ourselves. So, a good rule of thumb would be to think about the things we do for ourselves, and then treat others as well as we treat our own selves. In other words, if we could somehow put ourselves in other people’s shoes, and think what we would need if we were them, then it might best help us to understand how we can best show them love. Obviously we cannot help every single person who is in need, or even meet all their needs, so we should pray for God to show us what needs he wants us to meet and how he wants us to meet them.

We also love others by not sinning against them. Jesus Christ summed up the Ten Commandments into two commands: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Thus, love is truly the fulfillment of the law. So, if we truly love others, we will not lie to, steal from, or hate (murder) them; covet their possessions or relationships; and/or commit adultery against them, et al, for love does no harm to a neighbor. And, a “neighbor” simply means another human being. And, the same rule of love applies to our love for God. If we say we love God, and yet we commit spiritual adultery against him by following after other gods, attempt to lie to him, steal from the time, affection and attention he so deserves from us, cheat him out of our submission and obedience, and kill the witness of the Spirit within us, then we don’t truly love God.

Time to Wake Up!

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we die to the sin that once enslaved us, we are transformed in heart and mind by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and we are made into new creations in Christ Jesus our Lord, free from the control of sin (slavery to sin daily) and death (eternal punishment in hell without God). Yet, this is just the beginning of our walks of faith in Christ Jesus. Our salvation is a process of sanctification that takes place in our lives as we grow in Christ, and that will not be completed until Christ returns for his bride. So, every day our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Yet, it is possible for those who have genuinely been regenerated in heart and mind of the Spirit of God to, at some point in time, drift back into their old ways of living for sin and self and to be in need of a revival of their spiritual walk with Christ. We can become too casual about our relationship with Jesus Christ, lazy, and complacent, and little by little the ways of the world and of the flesh begin to creep back in, sometimes very subtly, and before we know it we have forgotten our vows of fidelity to our Lord and our commitment to forsake all others and to make him our only Lord. And, so we need a wakeup call.

The wakeup call reminds us that coming to Christ means death to sin and self, and it means a walk of faith and obedience to Christ and to his commands, making him our only Lord. It reminds us that faith in Christ means we surrender our lives and our wills to the will of the Father, and we seek to please Jesus Christ with our lives, instead of living to please ourselves. Jesus Christ died to set us free from the control of sin over our lives, so how can we live in sin any longer? So, we should put aside (reject; forsake; abandon) the deeds of darkness (sin) that have crept back into our lives, and we should put on the “armor of light” (cf. Ep. 6:10-20). In other words, in place of doing what is sinful, we should put on Christ and his works, his word, faith, sharing the gospel, truth, and his righteousness, etc. as our spiritual armor with which to fight off Satan’s attacks and his temptations which come against us, and so that we can live godly and holy lives pleasing to God.

Great is The Lord! / An Original Work / June 12, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures – Ps. 57:10; 89:1; 145:3; Jer. 32:19;
La. 3:22-24; Da. 9:4; Lu. 21:27; Ep. 1:19; Tit. 2:13; 1 Jn. 3:1 (NIV ’84)

Great is the Lord!
He has done wondrous things.
Great is His love
Reaching up to the heav’ns.
His faithfulness reaches
Up to the skies.
Of His great love,
I will sing evermore.

Great is the Lord
And most worthy of praise!
Truly His greatness
No one comprehends.
Great are His purposes;
Mighty His deeds.
His eyes are open
To the ways of man.

Great is the Lord!
His compassions ne’er fail.
Great is His faithfulness.
I’ll wait for Him.
He keeps His covenant
Of His great love
With all who love Him
And do what He says.

Great is the Lord!
He is coming in pow’r.
His saints will wait for Him;
Their hope secure.
How great His love
He has lavished on us,
That we should be called
The children of God.