Love's Conscience Romans 13:8-14

Text: “Owe to no man anything, but to love one another; for he/she that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law.”
Romans 13:8.

Good morning, loving Christian!  Your Christian love towards all men, no matter if they be friends or strangers, has been much noticed; and being noticed, has brought great glory to the Saviour’s holy Name.  Love on, beloved, fulfil the Law.  
(1 John 4:7-21)

In what way might the Christian fulfil God’s law by his/her practical loving?  What law exactly might be fulfilled?  To more fully comprehend our daily Bible readings it is very healthy to ask oneself such relevant questions as one goes along.  “Ask, and ye shall receive...” (Matthew 7:7-11)

The law spoken of here in Romans 13: is, of course, God’s Ten Commandments to us.  These Ten Commandments can be found in the book of Exodus, chapter 20:1-17.

It is only through Spiritually imparted love that a person can even attempt to keep these Commandments.  In fact, I believe God gave them to Moses in the first place to prove to mankind the fact that he/she was incapable of keeping them; even while being implored of God the Holy Spirit to do so!  (John 15:4-5) (Ephesians 4:30-32)

The natural (unregenerate) man/woman loves not his/her Creator Lord, and is naturally disobedient to Him.  (1 Corinthians 2:12-16) (Job 14:4) (Romans 7:24-25) (Romans 8:7)

That is why we must, of an absolute necessity, be born again of God the Holy Spirit.  We MUST receive God the Spirit within us - otherwise we can never hope to really love our friends, never mind our enemies!  (Matthew 5:44-48)

Therefore, the primary step to successfully fulfilling God’s law is the new birth, Spiritual Regeneration; being ‘...born again...’ of God.  Then, and only then, can we begin to love God, and learn to love one another with purity of motive and purpose. (John 3:3-8)              (1 Corinthians 13:)

Christ summed up His way of fulfilling God’s Commandments by condensing the Ten Commandments into Two Commandments, as it were; Two Commandments which are based on this morning’s Bible theme of Spiritual love.  (Matthew 22:36-40)

To even try to be faithful in obeying these Two Commandments, is to manifest a Supernatural nature which has its conscience rooted firmly in love.

Look again at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17.  The first four Commandments are primarily directed towards love for God, and instruct us in the manner we must worship Him if, indeed, we truly love Him   (i.e. His Way!)  Christ simply teaches us to love the Lord our God with our all. (Exodus 20:3-11) (John 14:6)

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  (Matthew 22:37) (Psalm 32:11)

There then follows six further Commandments which are all directed towards our fellow man/woman.  We are to have a conscience towards all others grounded firmly in unselfish love for them. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”(Matthew 22:39) (1 John 4:20-21)

If we truly love our neighbours, we will not steal their possessions; take away their lives; covet their wives; be envious of their achievements, etc., etc.

True Spiritual love fulfils all these God-given Commandments (to the very best of one’s abilities) - and, in this Spiritual manner, fulfils God’s Law.

“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:40)  (Galatians 6:2)

Love on then, Christian!  God, the Holy Spirit, within you IS love’s conscience.

Thought:  She/he loves the best, who loves Love the most - for God is Love.

The Marks of Godly Government Romans 13:7

Text: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man (i.e. civil laws) for the Lord’s sake; whether it be to King...or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him (i.e. the Lord) for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

1 Peter 2:13-14.

Good morning, law-abiding Christian!  Because you love the Lord Jesus, you are always conscientious to abide by the laws of the land, the legal ordinances of the elected government of the day.  You see your obedience to such government as your Christian duty which, of course, it certainly is and therefore, we do well to obey it.

However, there are marks by which we can recognize God’s ordained governments, and unless these marks are obvious in the government in power, then the Christian is in no way morally obliged to submit to, or be obedient to, such rules or laws such an ungodly government legislates.  God’s ordained governments are clearly recognized by their description from Holy Scripture.

Our passage today, in its opening verses, teaches us that we are indeed to be legally submissive to government agencies which are clearly ordained by God.  To resist the laws of such government is to sin gravely against the Lord God.

The ideology known as Anarchy promotes a society which runs without State agencies; a society without an established government; a society which is especially marked by the complete absence of either a standing army or any semblance of, otherwise essential, State force such as a police force or a judicial system.

Now in an ideal world, this type of ideology would be absolutely lovely.  But, we do not live in an ideal world, human nature and the sin stains within it, make some sort of government and state security forces, necessary.  Otherwise it would be a case of the survival of the strongest; what the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes described as’...the law of all men for all men...’ - which naturally evolves into a type of ‘law of the jungle...’.  In such a practiced ideology, might and power would appear to be right, and the weak would go as natural victims to the proverbial wall.

Without a degree of central government control, such anarchist ideology deteriorates into social chaos, and disorder soon rules the realm.  Old Testament times were often described in such chaotic terms of lawlessness.  All doing what was ’right in their own eyes...’(Judges 21:25)

Verses three and four of Romans 13: contain the marks of a God-fearing, God glorifying,  government; and these characteristics must be manifested by a government, if it is to receive the Christian’s  full allegiance and support.  Our subjection, therefore, must be qualified by these marks before our electoral consent can be given to the State government.

First, a Godly government must fulfil two important functions: it must punish evildoers and, at the same time, reward well doers.  That way evil works are curtailed, and good works are encouraged and, as a direct consequences, further promoted. Basically, this is the main function of a God-ordained government - social and legal order.

Government agencies wield power - and power is very prone to corrupt those continually wielding it.  Individuals covet power for power’s sake, and thus State tyrannies are created. (Proverbs 29:2)

Therefore, every government must be made accountable to the people or the society which elects it to office.  If the Christian recognizes an ungodly government, he/she must vote against it, and speak out against it without hesitation.  To do otherwise is to place man-ordained civil powers above God-ordained human government, which is of course gross sin.  (Genesis 20:1-17) 

Thus, we commit ourselves as Christians to the democratically elected government and its laws - just as long as that government submits itself to God’s Commandments and seeks to govern in the spirit of His revealed instructions.  (John 3:3-8) 

To do this is to be a law-abiding citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven; submitting ourselves willingly to the ‘...higher powers...’ that the Lord has Himself ordained to govern.  Amen, so be it, Lord.

Thought:    For the Christian, it’s God first, governments second. 

Practical Christianity Romans 12:9-21

Text: “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
James 1:22.  

Good morning, practical Christian!  Your God-given faith has saved you, but your practical Christian works are what proves to a sceptical world the positive fact of your faith.  Your faith is a quality which cannot be seen, tasted, touched, etc., but you practical works soon reveal the faith that is within your Christian heart.  Shine on then, beloved, glorify God.  (Matthew 5:16)

This morning’s passage is probably the most often used passage from Scriptures to promote the practical nature of true Christian faith.  If one can even get close to practicing his/her faith in the spirit of these Bible verses, then, one will very quickly find joy in the Christian life, and be more easily recognized as a GENUINE Christian believer.  God’s Word is quite clear on this important matter of genuine Christian witness.  (James 2:14-26)

These verses from Romans chapter twelve, reveal the true revolutionary nature of Christianity.  The concepts of practice set forth here, if closely followed, would bring about a vast, radical, change in life as we know it now in the 21st Century - a revolution of goodness and love.  Yes indeed, my friends, think about it!  A full blown Christian revolution would turn the world upside down!  And nothing less than that is required today.  (Acts 17:6b)

Police forces would be made redundant; evil would be totally abhorred; and goodness would be promoted diligently.  Lawyers would be reduced in numbers by two thirds, for two thirds of legal business is concerned with criminal defence and prosecution!

Firms making money from selling burglar alarms, bolts, and locks, would have no business either - for mutual trust would reign supreme in cities, towns, and villages.

The perpetration of evil deeds costs societies billions of pounds per day.  those billions could be put to an alternative better use in providing for the necessities of all classes of people all around the world.  In fact, a truly classless society would very soon emerge from the practice of genuine selfless Christianity.

The Casualty Department in local hospitals would find quite a relief in their work load - due to people treating others with our passage’s prescribed practice of kindly affection and brotherly love. 
(1 John 4:7-8)

Churches would be filled to capacity each Lord’s Day with folk seeking to fervently serve the Lord God.  Honesty and peace would pervade the world, instead of current social trends of fraud and criminal chaos. What a world this would be!

However, while this utopia will never be realized until the Lord returns, we Christians are still under obligation to TRY to practice these Christ like qualities and, therefore, be salt and light for the Lord amid so much that is negative and filled with darkness.

Christian faith in action is what we recognize as practical Christianity.

Thought:  A practical Christian revolution begins with ME!