Love's Active Anticipation.

Romans 12-16 practically applies the doctrine of chapters 1-11. How do we practically apply doctrine in our culture, in our personal lives, home, vocation, and communities? There is a divine progression from Romans 12:1 through the end of the book. We obey because we love (2 John 6). He saves us by His grace and gives us the ability to live by His grace to influence others by His grace.

We will study Romans 13:11-14 in 3 sections over 3 weeks.

Renewed Perspective (verses 11-12a)

Despite our digital calendars, alarms, and alerts, we all still miss appointments. Technology helps us live detailed, efficient lives. This makes us willing to add more things to our lives that keep us busy. Paul tells us one non-negotiable appointment we must not remove from our calendars: being examples of moral and ethical purity to our friends who don't know Jesus.

When Paul says "Do this," he refers to what he wrote in verses 8-10. The one debt we can never repay is a debt of love that compels us to live out God's moral standard in a culture of darkness. We may be the only evidence of God's grace in the life of our friends who need Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is working to convict hearts, and He places us around some souls who need to see Light.

Paul tells us to live with three things:

  • Discernment
  • Determination
  • Anticipation

Discernment is found in the phrase "know the time." Scripture speaks of chronological time and a specific time. It refers to time in the future, in general, and how to live in the present time. This passage is discussing the latter. Those who have been prepared and taught are ready to live God's moral code and influence those around them as a team.

1 Chronicles 12:32 says that the tribe of Issachar "understood the times and knew what Israel should do." They were able to apply God's revealed Word to themselves, their families, their tribe, and their nation in the present time. They knew the Word, lived the Word, and had a great spiritual influence.

Our determination should be to carve out time in our busy schedules to do this. Our spiritual influence is not sensational; it is supernaturally normal. Good people can easily fall asleep spiritually, especially in the mismanagement of time. Prayer is absolutely essential in living with determination.

"Separation isn't removing ourselves from unbelievers; it's removing ourselves from the sin of unbelievers so that when we are around them, they can see Jesus Christ."

We live in anticipation of our future salvation. This refers not to the salvation of our souls in the past or to the salvation of this earth from sin in the future. Paul is speaking of the salvation of God's people from the sinful earth. "The night" refers to this world and the sinful desires it lives for. The Light has come into this dark world once and will come again to rescue His people (2 Peter 1:19, John 8:12, Luke 2:1-20). We have a short time before Jesus returns (Matthew 24:36). We must use it to "do this."

Refined Direction (verses 12b-13)
Relentless Appropriation (verse 14)

Application Points

  • Rehearse the progression of the Gospel that God gave us to live in the book of Romans.
  • Do you have time in your weekly schedule to be around lost people and influence them with your moral lifestyle?
  • Are you confident that you are prepared to have a spiritual influence with your friends who need Jesus?
  • Keep growing in your anticipation of Christ's return.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Colossians 4:2-6 – Paul's 2 prayer requests.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 – Preparation for spiritual influence.