Romansby David Cook
This section provides one of Paul’s more direct references in Romans to the future coming of Christ. His exhortations are built around verses 11 and 12, “The day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness . . .”
The central motivation for the appeal of verses 8 to 10 and verses 13 to 4 is the understanding of the present time: The day of Christ’s appearing, the day of “the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23), the day of judgment, is close.
Therefore, we are to owe no debts except the ongoing indebtedness of loving one another. Just as seeing someone to whom we owe money reminds us of our debt, so too seeing our fellow believers should remind us of our debt of love to them.
In verses 13 to 14, Paul returns to his “put off . . . put on” language (see Ephesians 4:20–5:2). We are to put off orgies, drunkenness, and debauchery, and to behave decently (v. 13). In clear contrast to godless behaviour, we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness. We spare no thought about gratifying the sinful nature, that nature as described in chapters 7 and 8. Verse 14 is sometimes known as “St Augustine’s verse”. The great fourth-century Christian leader describes his experience:
“I felt that I was still the captive of my sin . . . all at once I heard the sing-song voice of a child in a nearby house. ‘Take it and read, take it and read’ . . . I stemmed my flood of tears and stood up, telling myself this could only be a divine command to open the book of Scripture and read the first passage on which my eyes should fall . . . I seized it and opened it in silence. I read the passage on which my eyes fell: ‘not in revelry and drunkenness . . . rather arm yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ; spend no more thought on nature and nature’s appetite’ . . . in an instant . . . it was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled.”
Augustine then relates that when he told his prayerful mother Monica what had happened, “she was jubilant with triumph and glorified You”.
We must, like Augustine, make sure we get dressed every day—taking off sin and putting on the righteousness of Christ.
Think about what you should take off today and what it means to clothe yourself with Christ.
In what way is love the fulfillment of the law?