Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Three Considerations
Romans 13:10-11 NKJV — Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Practical Truths
Romans 1 through Romans 11 deals with the doctrines of the Gospel.  Starting with Romans 12, Paul deals with the practical results of the Gospel in our current lives.  Romans 12 starts with Paul beseeching or begging or entreating those who claim to be saved to present their bodies as living sacrifices.  It seems to me that he then goes on to give us practical illustrations of what that means. We should notice that while salvation brings about changes in our attitudes and behavior, those changes are not always automatic.  Christians still have problems with sin and self-centeredness after they are saved, but they should have a conscience about these things.  But sometimes they need to be instructed with regard to what is right.  Sometimes they need to be admonished to do what is right.  As we come to chapter 13 there are three lessons that I notice:
1.  Love Does No Harm to a Neighbor
Obviously, Christ is the only example of true love lived out that we have on this earth.  But Christians should want to reflect that love to others as well, even if they do it imperfectly.  Before we are saved, most of us tend to make our decisions based on what is best for us.  We want to know how we can best fulfill our goals with regard to marriage and families and children and employment.  But after we are saved we should be making our decisions on what is best for our “neighbors.”  Luke 10:29 is clear that our neighbor is probably the one person that we least like or want to help.  But decisions are to be made based on what is best for others and not based on what is best for self.  
2.  Salvation is not Always the New Birth
When we read the word saved or salvation in the Bible it means different things in different places.  Sometimes it is the new birth. Sometimes it means preservation.  But sometimes it refers to the coming return of the Lord Jesus for the church.  That is what is in view here.  Our salvation will be final and complete when the Lord takes the church home to be with Himself.  
3.  We didn’t always Believe
Paul has explained in this Gospel that the just shall live by faith.  He has used Abraham as the example of faith or believing or trust in the Lord. Often people will say, “I have always believed.”  That was not true of Paul nor was it true of the Romans.  He says that now is our salvation (deliverance from the presence of sin) nearer than when we first believed (salvation from the condemnation that we deserve because of our sin).  
We who are saved need to be careful that we are not sleeping like the ten virgins in Matthew 25 when the Lord returns. Instead of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, we can be lulled into a state of lethargic carelessness.  
Before we were saved, eternal things were real.  We were concerned about eternal separation from God because of our sin.  The promise of the Lord’s coming was real.  What is our condition today as believers? Are we concerned about those who have not yet “believed?”  Do we still believe in the imminent return of the Lord after which terrible times will be coming on those left behind?  Do we make self-centered decisions that cause the unsaved to question the reality of what we claim to believe?
Is it time to awake out of sleep?
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of week of August 15, 2021

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