Romans 14. Never Be Without Love.





Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.


You may listen to today’s devotional blog by clicking the link above.



Romans 14.

Paul is such a great orator, even with his pen.  He gives multiple sides of a situation, then brings the final decision to the place that lines up with the Scriptures. Eat this or that. Take this day for a sabbath or that one. Don’t judge your brother. Don’t be condescending to your sister. For, in the end, we will each stand before God. HE is God! He’s got this. He is worthy to be worshipped!

Here’s the passage of his conclusion, from the prophet Isaiah:

God, Creator of the heavens— he is, remember, God. Maker of earth— he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch. He didn’t go to all that trouble to just leave it empty, nothing in it. He made it to be lived in. This God says: “I am God, the one and only. I don’t just talk to myself or mumble under my breath. I never told Jacob, ‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’ I am God. I work out in the open, saying what’s right, setting things right. So gather around, come on in, all you refugees and castoffs. They don’t seem to know much, do they— those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood, praying for help to a dead stick? So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence. Put your heads together. Make your case. Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here? Who made sense of things for you? Wasn’t I the one? God? It had to be me. I’m the only God there is— The only God who does things right and knows how to help. So turn to me and be helped—saved!— everyone, whoever and wherever you are. I am God, the only God there is, the one and only. I promise in my own name: Every word out of my mouth does what it says. I never take back what I say. Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me. Everyone is going to end up saying of me, ‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’” All who have raged against him will be brought before him, disgraced by their unbelief. And all who are connected with Israel will have a robust, praising, good life in God! (Isaiah 45:18‭-‬24, MSG). For more on Isaiah 45, go here.

Three times in Matthew 6, Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV). Sarah Young’s interpretation of Jesus’ words, from Jesus Calling: “You need not fear the future for I am already there.” Wow! Such a powerful promise!

God is God. We need not worry. But you say, “I’m sick.” Or “I lost my job.” Or “My marriage is a wreck.” Or… I will say it again, as Paul did. God is God. Turn to him and be helped.

As you do, be sure to do so with love. In another letter The Missionary says it like this:  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  (Colossians 3:12‭-‬14, MSG).

The way we live is to be consistent with what we believe.

Just like in Romans 13, Paul continues to encourage love over all else. Many in that day were holding up their good works, like worshipping on a special day or eating kosher, in a higher place than love. He urges us all the way we live is to be consistent with what we believe. If we believe in grace, have accepted Jesus’ grace, we are to offer His grace.

God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you. (Romans 14:17‭-‬18, MSG).

Love others with His love today. Never be without love.


(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.
RichlySpeaking.com

Romans 13. You Can’t Go Wrong When You Start With Love.

Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.


You may listen to today’s devotional blog here.

 

Romans 13.

Yesterday, Paul encouraged us in our relationships with others. Today’s Word highlights our relationship with authorities and governments, where we are to invest with the mind of Christ.

Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. (v1, CEV).

This can be tricky when the rulers over us put their own personal agenda ahead of God’s agenda for our communities. Yet, there are countless examples of poor leaders in the Bible. Kings who did evil fill the pages of Old Testament history. And yet God still delivered His people. God still gave His one and only Son at just the right time. I believe we can obey even evil rulers, or maybe even those whose politics differ from ours, and yet work to bring about God’s perfect will at the same time. Martin Luther King, Jr. may have said it best and most succinctly: “The time is always right to do what is right.” I often instructed my own kids when they were teenagers with similar words of wisdom, “If you don’t know which choice to make, make the right one.”

Doing what is right is key, especially when it is done in love. Paul says:  Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. (v8, MSG). And then the Apostle adds: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. (v10, MSG).

Paul, the former Pharisee, the scholarly Jew, has the Shema in mind here, doesn’t he? Every day he likely rolled off of his sleeping mat, looked heavenward first thing in the morning and said this prayer: “O Israel, listen: Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone. You must love him with all your heart, soul, and might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, CJB). But love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:9, NIV). Paul may have even heard the disciples quoting the story of Jesus being asked about the greatest commandment. The Messiah first quotes directly from Deuteronomy, then from Leviticus. (see Matthew 22:35-40 and Mark 12:28-34). For Moses and Jesus both, it’s all about love. As it is for Paul. As it is for you and me.

You can’t go wrong when you love others.


Next, there is a warning and an encouraging word or two:

Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon. We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality, not being argumentative or jealous of others. Instead be fully clothed with the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, and don’t waste even a moment’s thought on your former identity to awaken its selfish desires. (v12-14, TPT).

Another translation says it this way:  Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires. (v 14, CEV).

Love others well today! Make the right choices. And know that Jesus is always with you!


© 2020. Rich Ronald.
RichlySpeaking.com