Summary: God is a healing God
END TIMES OBEDIENCE
Context: Romans 12:1-15:13 is the practical application of the statement “The just shall live by faith” established so thoroughly in Romans 1-8. Those who have been made righteous through faith are not to live any longer in the ways of the world, but to be about the business of “renewing their mind” (Romans 12:2). Since the teaching of Romans 9-11 on the solidarity of Jew and Gentile within the church is no mere parenthesis, Paul also gives some guidelines on how people of different backgrounds and points of view in non-essentials are to relate to one another in the fellowship of the Gospel.
(a) “And that” - The outworking of this “renewing of our mind” is seen in our relationship to God (Romans 12:1), in our love to our fellow believers (Romans 12:10), and in our love to our neighbour (Romans 13:8-10). Paul adds an “also this” in verse 11, thereafter establishing an eschatological reason for our Christian obedience. We know the times in which we are living!
(b) “Knowing the time” - We are living in the age of the Spirit which, according to Peter, is the “last days” (Acts 2:16-17). These days began when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. As the return of Jesus approaches it is paramount that we discern the signs of the times (Luke 12:56)...
(e) “For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” - There is a “now” and a “not yet” in the outworking of our salvation. We are forensically justified from the moment we believe, but we must thereafter strive after holiness and sanctification, and at last we shall be glorified. We are saved by grace through faith, but we are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The whole creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19, 22). We also groan within ourselves, awaiting the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23). “Look up,” says Jesus: for when we discern the signs of the times we know that our redemption is drawing nigh (Luke 21:28)...
(c) “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness” - Christians are not, and should not be in darkness that that day should overtake them as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:4-7)…
It is also important not to neglect our prayer weapon (Ephesians 6:18). At Gethsemane Jesus exhorted His disciples to engage in prayer, and when He found them sleeping He repeated the exhortation “that you enter not into temptation” (Luke 22:40; Luke 22:45; Luke 22:46).
(a) “Let us walk honestly, as in the day” - Don’t be like the servant who oppressed his fellow servants (Matthew 24:48-51)… thereby failing in love (Romans 13:8; Romans 13:10). Jesus’ command to the church in this age is the same as the command of the nobleman who went into a far country to receive a kingdom: “Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13) -
(b) “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envying” - Yet there were those who hated him, and said “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).
(b) “And do not spend your time thinking about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” - This brings us right back to Romans 12:1-2. We are to be as living sacrifices, always about the business of renewing our mind. This is how we should live in these end times.