Be Convinced

(Romans 14:5-9)

Among Christians there are many beliefs, some of which have no basis in the bible, some that are a little strange to some people and some that seem unbelievable but are in fact based in the truth.

Be convinced

Be convinced

Some beliefs are quite harmless in the total scheme of things regarding the truth of Christianity while others are quite destructive. We need to understand the latter, and avoid them, but the former beliefs that some people hold are not of great consequence, unless or until those beliefs overwhelm the person and become more important than the truth of Jesus Christ.

Paul quotes two good examples in this section of the scripture where he speaks of those who believe they should not eat certain foods or meats, or those who believe that certain days are more important than others. Neither of these beliefs is critical to salvation for both are based in works and salvation is by faith alone.

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Brotherly Love

(Romans 14:1-4)

There are many people with different Christian backgrounds who read this and other Christian blogs. They come from all denominations and sects of the church, both from mainstream churches as well as small independent groups, home churches and those going solo who are in-between churches.

Many paths, many opinions but one goal

Many paths, many opinions but one goal

The one thing ALL of these people have in common, apart from a love of the Lord, is they believe the path they are following is the right path, the true path and the pathway to the kingdom of God.

But they also all believe different things. They are all approaching the kingdom of God from slightly different directions. And unfortunately all too often we see bickering between brothers and sisters in the Lord over their differences of opinions.

And it is exactly this issue that Paul is addressing here. Bickering over opinions and differences is not appropriate for brothers and sisters in the Lord. Instead we need to learn from each other because NONE of us knows it all and all of us can learn from each other.

Let's look at it and see what Paul is teaching us that the Lord taught him.

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Walking Properly With Christ

(Romans 13:12-14)

One of the first principles of coming to Jesus Christ is the principle of repentance. Repentance relates to changing your life by turning around and away from the things of this world to the things of the spirit.

Walk in the light and walk properly with Christ.

Walk in the light and walk properly with Christ.

The word “repentance” is translated from the Greek word “metanoia” which literally means to change your thinking. And when we change the way we think, we automatically change the way we behave because all behaviour commences with a thought.

So then, if we are to learn how to walk properly with Jesus Christ, we need to change our behaviours and this is preceded by changing how we think. This is the focus of these few verses we are looking at today.

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Salvation Is Near

(Romans 13:11)

The primary reason people come to Jesus Christ is that they recognize the fruitless ness and worthlessness of their life on earth through sin, and are seeking salvation. Jesus Christ is the Saviour and He is the way we must find salvation for salvation comes from God alone, through Jesus Christ.

Salvation into God's kingdom is near

Salvation into God's kingdom is near

But there is an interesting perspective on salvation that we can see in this scripture. Christians often talk amongst themselves asking the question of people whether they have been saved or not. There is also a movement in parts of the church who claim that when you come to Christ, you become “Once saved, always saved”.

This OSAS position is not correct, for being saved and receiving salvation are not the same thing. This scripture shows us this amongst other things. So let us look at what this verse is telling us.

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Love: The Great Commandment

(Romans 13:8-10)

What is the ultimate expression of the faith and beliefs of a Christian? Is it good works? Is it giving a helping hand when needed? Is it showing our faith is real through the things we do, our behaviours and where we stand when the going gets tough?

Well, all of these things do have a bearing on our Christian life and the walk that we are on with Jesus Christ. All of them are certainly important. But there is a foundation upon which all of these plus many other aspects of the Christian life stand.

That foundation is love. Not love as it is expressed in this world, but the love of God and living a life that reflects His love for us in all we do and say.

God Is Love

Needless to say it is impossible to live a life in Christ unless we express it through the love of God.

The scriptures tell us that God is love and that being true means that He cannot do anything but give His love and show His love to us who are His children.

The opportunity we have to be set free from sin, death and all of the wickedness in this earthly life exists only because God loves us. His grace is nothing more than an expression of His love for anyone who will seek Him out and come to Him to receive His salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

His love also is not like the depictions of love in this world. It is not the soppy mush portrayed in movies and books. It is unique for His love is unlike anything on this earth.

The love of God did not require us to love Him first. He shows that while man was still His enemy He gave man a chance. While man is still a sinner, torn apart by the wretchedness of human passions, emotions and lusts, God offered His grace, and through it His love so that we may be saved.

Furthermore, there is nothing that we can offer in return except ourselves. The Lord Jesus made the point that when He gives us anything it is not as people of the world give. People give to others expecting something in return. But the love of God gives expecting nothing in return for who has anything or can offer anything that would repay God for what He has given to us.

Debt of Love

To that end then we are being trained to love as Christ loved us. We see these sentiments expressed in these verses in Romans 13 saying,

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Do not be indebted to anyone except to love them as God and Jesus Christ first loved us. That is the sum of all we are called to. We are called to love.

We know that when Jesus died He took away our sins. And at the same time He also set us free from the law and ordinances of the old covenant as He issued in the New Covenant age.

But we see in the law the expressions of God's love. The commandments we see above are just a few of the Ten Commandments and as each of these ones as well as most of the rest relate to how we treat the people around us, they are by nature expressions of love.

The great commandment in the law was to love one another just as God loves us.

But now that we are free from law, we are freed from this law also. However, we do not reject what the law tells us. Rather we are at greater pains to uphold the truth of the law and the love of the law because it is the nature of God. We may not be bound under law to love, but we are convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit to live a life of love for it is the Holy Spirit's role to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

So when we are living in the love of God as this scripture informs us, we do not seek to upset, offend or wrong anyone. Instead we seek to help, conciliate, overcome conflicts and seek the peace of God to work in all situations.

This is our call. We are called to be children of God. And to be a child of God is to be a child of love, exhibiting the love of God in us through all that we do and say.

You might also like:

Love Is The Answer
Jesus Fulfilled Law
Love Your Enemies
God Is Merciful
The Woman Who Was A Sinner
Vengeance Is Mine Or Is It
The Good Samaritan
Do You Know How To Set Your Moral Gps
Increase Our Faith
For God So Loved The World
Serving Jesus
A New Commandment
How To Love Jesus
If You Keep My Commandments
The Friend Of God
The Joy Of Jesus
Parables And The Love Of The Father
Jesus Prayed For You
Expression Of True Love
A Merciful God
Restored By Grace
Access To Grace
Hope Love And The Holy Spirit
Greatest Gift Of All

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Paying Taxes

(Romans 13:6-7)

Let's face it, everybody hates paying taxes! Most people complain bitterly about the amount of taxes they have to pay and there are whole industries devoted to helping people find ways to legitimately reduce the amount of tax they pay. There are also plenty of people who illegally evade taxes too, which is a dangerous and pointless exercise because eventually the authorities will catch up with them and they will suffer the consequences.

Pay your taxes!

Pay your taxes!

As for me, I am of the opinion that if you are paying a lot of tax even after legitimately minimizing the tax impact on your income, then you should be happy because if you are paying a hefty amount of tax you must have earned an even heftier amount of income. So don't complain about it because there are plenty of people who would like to be in your situation.

And the bible is also very clear in these passages about paying taxes along with other things that we must do with respect to our dealings with the authorities of the land we live in.

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Governing Authorities

(Romans 13:1-5)

So often today it seems that as soon as an elected government comes to power they are immediately lionized as being the worst government ever or being the source and reason for all the ills and evils that exist in that country.

Governing authorities are not a terror to good conduct but to bad conduct

Governing authorities are not a terror to good conduct but to bad conduct

This is especially noticeable on social media. The rants against governments and government leaders are frequent and often full of vitriole. The expressions of distaste, disgust and downright hate are beyond belief. And often I see this on the Christian sites and chat sessions too.

As Christians it is important that we stop and think about what is happening and if we are standing against the government of the day for the wrong reasons, we need to think very carefully about our position, as these scriptures tell us.

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Vengeance Is Mine

(Romans 12:19-21)

Over the last few posts we have looked at the attitudes and behaviours of life in Jesus Christ. Most specifically there have been a few posts considering the issue of revenge and retaliation when we are hurt or wronged by other people.

Vengeance belongs to God so love your enemies

Vengeance belongs to God so love your enemies

The bible is very clear about this subject and the whole issue of taking the law into our own hands. Don’t! That is the message. Don’t put yourself into the position of judge, jury and executioner for this is not what we have been called to.

Here in these last few verses of Romans 12 we see this spelled out very clearly and what we should do when it comes to those who oppose us and oppose the will of God.

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Live Peaceably With All

(Romans 12:18)

One of the primary and fundamental tenets of the Christian life is to live in peace. We have the promise of peace being left with us through Jesus Christ and we seek peace as we walk with Him.

Live peaceably with all

Live peaceably with all

God the Father is referred to in various places as the God of peace and so it stands to reason that as He is the God of peace then His prime message to mankind would be a message of peace. For example,

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep… (Hebrews 13:20)

And as the message of the new covenant is meant to lead us in transformation to become like Jesus Christ, who bears the very stamp of the nature of God the Father, then we too need to be transformed into the way of peace which is the way of God.

The challenge for us Christians though is that the way of God and the way of peace are NOT the ways of this world. The ruler of this world is the devil and his desire is for disruption, war, hate, fighting and corruption…not peace. So let us examine what this scripture means for us today.

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Seek Honour, Not Evil

(Romans 12:17)

The Lord God said in various places that vengeance belongs to Him. It is not for us to seek to avenge ourselves but rather to leave vengeance to the wrath of God.

Seek honour, not evil

Seek honour, not evil

If you are a Christian and have been for any length of time, you will certainly have suffered at the hands of someone who stands opposed to what you believe in. We are told that all those who choose to live a godly life will be persecuted. So if you have not been persecuted yet, be assured that the time is coming when you will.

The challenge for us though, is to live our lives appropriately to the call of Jesus Christ. He gave us the perfect example of how we should live and the attitudes we should take in all situations, especially when we are being persecuted or suffering at the hands of someone else.

In these verses we see another important instruction regarding this part of our life in Christ Jesus as we walk the Christian way.

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