I subdivided the chapter as follows:
KV14: Our behavioural, motivational, logical conduct
1-7: Our conduct toward authority
8-10: The motivation for our behaviour
11-14: The reasoning for our motivation
If I could remind you of our study last week, it began with a favourite word of mine, “therefore.” As we all know, it is a joining word, focusing our attention on a conclusion drawn from what has just been said. When we see the word, we should always keep in mind what has just been written, because it sets the context of what follows. What came immediately before was an object lesson in behaviour from those that did not keep God’s covenant with them right from the very beginning because of their own radical depravity by nature. Also, if I may remind you all of the study last time, Paul begins by imploring us not to make the same errors but to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, which is pleasing to God, and also His will for His people, which is good, acceptable, and perfect. This has some overall implications.
KV14: Our behavioural, motivational, logical conduct
The implications to which I am referring have to do with following that code of conduct, that “law written on our hearts” that we instinctively now are drawn to, with the aid of the Holy Spirit in our lives renewing us and making us holy, as our “code of behaviour.” I hesitate to use that phrase because it means people can make it legalistic and begin to rely again on behaviour as the source of salvation, and make up so-called sacraments to bless the so-called “spiritual” aspect of peoples’ lives. So we do have a certain behaviour to things we do, but that is motivated by that law God has written in our hearts, not by some legalistic desire to follow rules. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the holy Trinity, prompts us toward the right thing to do, not so that we can be “do-gooders,” but so we can do good. Deeds, not words, as they used to say. Let me explain as we go through the text.
1-7: Our conduct toward authority
Last study, we looked at what our behaviour should be, starting with our brothers and sisters in Christ within the house of God, and then we expanded to outside the house of God to unbelievers, and that expansion continues here into the realm of how to deal with the leadership role and those that govern. There are some very important things to realize here, and I’m going to take it in our favorite fashion, one verse at a time.
1: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
- Right off the bat, Paul begins to speak about being subject to governing authorities. Literally, it says every soul must be. What is the soul? The soul, according to Vine’s, is the place that is the center of from where we do the will of God. One of the problems I have encountered with analysis of Greek and not really being a Greek scholar is represented here. I have found multiple ways of referring to the same thing – the word here is psuke, where elsewhere it is kardia [heart], or even dianoia [understanding], and so must conclude that this is the word for the whole person, as the NASB translators suggest.
- Subjection here means to be ranked under in terms of organization, like a General is above a Captain, for example. Paul is saying so fat that all persons must submit to governing authority. That is to say, all people are to submit to those that are ranked over you – jurisdictionally. The phrase itself seems to me to imply that there is a limit to their authority, and as we go, Paul will explain those limits.
- He begins here in the first verse of the chapter by giving the origins of their authority, and we have seen this before. There is no jurisdictional authority that does not come from God, and there is none in existence that He did not establish. Hold that thought as we go, but Jesus gave us a hint at this before Pontius Pilate:
- So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:10, 11)
- ALL jurisdictional authority is established by God, and there are no exceptions. And we know what happened after this – our Lord was led away and crucified, that is executed as a criminal in the most extreme and painful way possible. This, according to the Scriptures, was LEGAL. The trials (all three) -that He endured were not, by the way. Moving on.
2: Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
- Hey, look, there’s our favourite word again, “therefore!” The immediately preceding verse has application that Paul is about to give. Everyone is to be subject to the God-established jurisdictional authority – and those that have not obeyed those authorities are lawbreakers and have incurred condemnation to themselves! Wait, what? We have to follow the law? Well, I believe we just read this! What law? ANY law! God established it! Don’t get ahead of me, people! I know where you are going, and we’ll get there. That’s all this verse says. What does this say about speeding? Well, in Ontario, it means that if you speed, you have opposed the jurisdictional ordinance and are a guilty lawbreaker and worthy of wrath! That’s just an example. Leave the limitations for a minute! Anyone here ever jay-walked? Same thing – it’s a city ordinance! Such misbehaviour always has consequence attached.
3: For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
- Rulers [Gk., archon, meaning “chief”] are not a cause for fear if you are behaving yourself and doing good, you will notice. It is only when you break the law – again, any law – that you have reason to fear. There is a heavenly principle here that we must learn. If you want to live in peace, don’t do things that violate the jurisdictional authority. Instead of parking diagonally in a parallel parking area, park properly, and your car won’t be towed. Don’t rob anyone, and you won’t spend 10-15 years in federal prison. Instead of doing the wrong thing, do the right thing. Then you have anything to fear.
- The question really arises, however, as to who gets to set the standard. Well, again, the passage is clear. God establishes the rules. Assuming God really set the rules, of course, but we’ll save that discussion for a moment.
4: for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
- Why obey these God-ordained magistrates and jurisdictional authorities? According to the word, that Magistrate is a servant (minister) of God for you for GOOD. Be careful to do good, too. Why? Second half of the verse – because the Magistrate is also an avenger who brings wrath to those who will not keep the jurisdictional authorities ordinances. Again, please hold the questions, comments, and protests for a moment. Let’s get through the rule before we start discussing exceptions and invalidations.
5: Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
- Also, if you are keeping the law of these jurisdictional authorities because you are afraid of being punished for wrong-doing, you have at your own core the wrong reason for doing so. We as Christians must keep a good conscience before God and before these magistrates. And herein is the issue we have seen in our recent COVID-19 pandemic.
- As a Christian, we need to be limited by our conscience, not by our fear of punishment from the jurisdictional authority. When these authorities overreach their jurisdictions, we Christians must sometimes stand up and tell people that it is not right, and sometimes must disregard those human laws. Not all human laws are divinely inspired. Or was Daniel wrong to completely disregard this law that said no one but the King could be worshipped for 30 days? As you may recall from the story, Daniel’s action wasn’t just to worship Yahweh in secret, but to throw open the shutters on his windows so all could see him doing it! And for his trouble, I might add, the magistrates threw him into the lion’s den to be their dinner! God kept Daniel safe, however.
- We could also look at the story of Daniel’s friends – Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael – more frequently known by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (I can tell they are better known because their Hebrew names get caught by my spell-checker while their Babylonian names do not. There’s some irony there.) The king built a statue and commanded everyone to worship it when a certain set of cacophonous sounds were heard, including the bagpipes! Caber Feigh! (Literally “The Antlers of a deer,” it was the war-cry of the Scottish Black regiment of WW2 commandoes when they stormed a target.) They refused, of course, even under threat of being cast into the furnace (likely the smelting furnace that produced the gold for the statue) that was heated to seven times its normal heat. The three men replied to King Nebuchadnezzar that they would not bow. Their reply is very instructional, and frankly more than a little inspiring:
- If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not [emphasis added], let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
- There have been other times in more recent history that the two kingdoms (that of Christ and that of the world) have clashed at cross-purposes as well. Names like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Mao litter the pages of just the 20th century, and I could add others like Ho-Chi Minh and Pol-Pot, and extend that list quite a ways into the monster category. It has been said that “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” (I’d tell you that’s Edmund Burke, but no one has ever been able to document that concept in that concise a statement from him.)
- The issue arose this time from the mandatory church closures around the world, particularly in the United States, but also here in Canada. Although no real persecution arose from this quarantine of sorts (and I must say that quarantining the well people with the sick people really worked out, Mister Prime Minister), it did reveal that it is just waiting to be exercised, even here in Ontario. I will refer you to the case in Aylmer, Ontario where the Ontario Provincial Police showed up in force and attempted to intimidate a church that was holding outside services where everyone remained in their own vehicle. There were threats of pending arrest not just for the pastor, but for any who would attend the service. The OPP were there in force every time, noting the license plates (or trying to, some obscured the plates for the service), and I might add, not adhering to the Provincial guidelines for social separation (you may think that is a bid deal, but it is not – law enforcement and emergency services were given blanket exemptions so they could effectively perform their duties, which makes sense). I point that out for humorous irony I see there.
- Some pastors and other Christian leaders felt that this was a time to act according to conscience and the will of God and not the word of man, as Peter and John obviously felt when they were told to stop preaching. Others very hastily said we must stop meeting because our government said so. Those individuals were wrong, incidentally – that was a clear case of a jurisdictional authority overreaching its boundaries. Others felt that we needed to close to protect the at-risk members of their congregations. We did that in our congregation, because the average age of our congregant is around 70-75, plus we have younger members (like myself) in more than one high-risk health category. Now you all know I felt okay with the risk, and I still do, but there are others like my wife and kids that don’t feel okay with that, so for the sake of my own conscience, and to comfort them, I spend most of my time indoors. Who is right? God knows, and God will judge the motives of those who had to make those decisions. Personally, I feel like we should have resisted the ban, but how does one keep people at risk from attending if they really want to? And why are we so afraid of death anyway? If we are truly God’s adopted sons (chapter 9), then we know where we are going – what does it matter how we get there?
- Whatever we may say about this pandemic issue, it seems clear that we need to walk with the Lord and make our decisions in close consultation with Him through prayer, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit.
6: For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
- Well, that was an unexpected turn, wasn’t it? I have a number of friends that believe taxation is theft. I have asked each of them in turn, with none providing any clear answer if they answer me at all, how they deal with this verse. What follows is an attempt.
- The argument goes that we are ambassadors for Christ, and that is a Scriptural position, I’ll agree with that. The argument goes, “Because we are ambassadors, we shouldn’t have to pay tax, as ambassadors only pay tax in their home country. Our Home country is Heaven, so taxation here is actually theft.” However, I don’t think that’s the case.
- I did a little research on how diplomats are taxed, and by and large, they are taxed only by their home country, being citizens of that country. Where the above argument goes off the rails is when said diplomats conduct business in their country of residence. Then it is taxed by the host country under its taxation system. The argument goes further off the rails when you consider we are a kind of dual citizen at the moment. In a case like a dual citizen, you are taxed by both countries on your income from the given country under their both their tax systems. (This usually isn’t a problem unless one of your countries is the US, in which case you’re taxed on your country of citizenship, not just your country of residence. My wife is a landed immigrant in Canada from the US, and it works the same way.) Argument is derailed.
- Because we live in this society, we pay taxes to it. We get to drive our cars on provincial or federal roads, in Ontario we have universal health care, which is funded by our taxes (so stop saying its free and that medicine is a calling not an industry), we can walk on crown land because we are in some way shareholders of it because WE are the crown in a practical sense (yes, I know we are a constitutional monarchy in Canada, but we have been functioning as a representative democracy for at least 28 years now (we have our own constitution since 1982), so I’m speaking functionally, not in a legal fashion).
- The key point here is that these magistrates, the civil officials that are tasked with serving the public in this way are, whether they know it or not, whether they like it or not, servants of God appointed to the task and compensated for it.
7: Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
- It is for this reason that we are to be good citizens of the country where we live. I take this very seriously, and I take it to mean that our actions on any level, including and especially political, are to be in the best interests of the people of the country in which I reside. I pay my taxes. If I incur customs fees from the government, I pay them without complaint. If I am to give reverence (my understanding of the text here, I don’t think we should shake in fear at any man, especially when being threatened), I do so with humility and deference of position. If I am to give honour, I give it with joy, genuinely and humbly happy for the one who has earned it. That’s all there is to it.
A really great example of our attitude and our behaviour towards those in authority should be like the Apostle Paul in 1 Tim. 2:1-4 which reads:
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Does anyone remember who the king of the known world was when Paul dictated these words to his assistant? That’s right, it was Nero. Theologian T. R. Glover’s commentary on Nero and his rule was that “the day would come when we would name our sons Paul and our dogs Nero.” And if such a lascivious, immoral, and murderous man as Nero was to be prayed for in this fashion, we should be praying for our federal government the same way. I find it interesting that Paul, as far as I know, never actually criticized Nero himself publicly or we would be reading about it now. Now why is that, do you think?
8-10: The motivation for our behaviour
It is because we have an entirely different and otherworldly motivation for our behaviour than the world or the system that governs it can ever know, being based on the flesh and not the Spirit. This is a list of behaviours, I know, but the motivation can be derived from the text itself, so let’s have a look.
8: Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
- Let me read that statement again. Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. I’ll ask you – what do you think our motivation is for all these behaviours that are listed in this paragraph – or in fact anywhere else in the entire Bible? Anyone?
- If you said LOVE, you would be right. That Greek word is agapeo. Divine, self-giving, self-sacrificing love. It is the love that puts others needs first, and whatever you would do to benefit yourself in that circumstance, you will do to benefit them, or whatever THEY tell you will benefit them best, in some cases. (e.g., What do you want for your birthday?)
- The very first action of love here? Pay what you owe. If you don’t, and you’re just sponging off of someone else (living or dead), then you’re not living as a Christian, whose first duty to all is to love. No, you’re living as a thief who is irresponsibly and wrongly and uncaringly living at someone else’s expense. Owe no one anything except that duty to love them as Christ loves the church – you give yourself for them. Yes, I know that applies to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 – is that the only place that applies? This verse implies – no, make that directly states – otherwise. And why?
- Because by loving your neighbour, you are fulfilling any requirement of any law, up to and including treason and murder, and I have some experience with the second of those. For the murdered victim, you can treat their body and any outstanding affairs of theirs with the respect they deserve. For the family, you can pray with and for them, you can cook them a meal, you can counsel them – and likewise for the family of the murderer. For the murderer themselves, you can do many things. The first thing is to offer your compassion – I can’t think of who might need it more. Even if they won’t receive it or you. You can pray for them. You can testify in court for them – or against them – if called. A loving duty toward a murderer is to have them convicted by the truth – that is an act very much like the Holy Spirit, the great Paraklete, the one who convinces and convicts when we will not be convinced. One who is convicted of their sin is one who has a chance at repentance. “And such were some of you,” it says in 1 Cor. 6:11. That’s just an example, but one learned through hard experiences.
- Why is that? Because he who can love his own neighbour (to me that’s a reference to saved and unsaved alike) has fulfilled the Law of God that He wrote on our hearts.
9: For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Paul does what I like to do when I preach the Gospel. He goes back to the 10 commandments for this, particularly what is known as the second table, the commandments that deal with how we should treat others, in God’s great list in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. He uses the ones that I’m prone to use as well. Adultery, murder, thieving, and covetousness. I like to add bearing false witness (telling lies) as well. Why? Because we have ALL done at least ONE of those, and probably all 5 if we’re being honest, at least by the definitions Jesus gave on His sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7.
- Paul tells us (as did Jesus in John 13) that we can easily keep ALL of those laws by keeping ONE law. What Law is that? Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” Particularly that bit about loving your neighbour as yourself.
- I am reusing the word neighbour a great deal here, and you should know the Scriptural definition that comes from Jesus’ story about the man who was robbed and beaten on the road to Jericho in Luke 10:30-37. Who did Jesus say the neighbour was to the man that had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead? The one that showed him mercy. The one that stopped to help. The one that didn’t care about racial reconciliation, the one that didn’t care who the other man was other than that he needed aid and needed it now. The man that did for him what he would have wanted someone else to do for him had the situation been reversed. That’s a neighbour.
- I know a man, and this was more than 30 years ago, who drove transport, and as usual, he and some of his fellow drivers were in a convoy. (Actually, I knew all the drivers by first name.) There had been a chemical (PCB) spill months earlier that had been sealed by the Ministry of Transport in Ontario, and that sealant was very slippery, especially when wet. The lead truck’s trailer slipped while carrying a load of steel pipe, and a restraint around the pipes broke, sending the pipes all over the road, and the now out-of-control truck into Dogtooth lake about 40 miles from where my house was on the highway, carrying the driver, Bill by name, into about 30 feet of water – in early May, when there was still some ice on the water. There were several vehicles that got stopped very quickly, another transport driver being one of those. The whole road was littered with pipe, wrecked cars, hurt people, and broken guardrails. That second driver got his truck stopped right where Bill’s truck went through the guardrails into the lake. He had already removed his shoes and shirt when an absolutely chilling moment occurred – Bill broke the surface of the water and shouted three words – “I can’t swim.” The second driver was into the water like he was shot out of a cannon. Later, he told me it was like going through the ice on a lake in the winter (something I also have some familiarity – it’s mind-numbingly cold). He reached Bill before he could go under, and got him to the rocks at the edge of the highway. That trucker was my dad, and he was obviously a neighbour, but my dad was in trouble by that time as well. When you dive into cold water, your body starts to shut down as a built-in survival mechanism. He had reached his own cold shutdown point and was starting to lose consciousness. You typically have about a minute in cold water if you’re a normal human being with no insulation, just bare skin. As my dad started to go under because he couldn’t make his hands close around the rocks to pull himself out of the water, a hand grabbed his, and then another hand grabbed his other arm, and then another one grabbed him by the arm, and three hunters from Minnesota (I think, might have been Wisconsin) hauled him out of the water, where the OPP who had arrived in the interval, had a blanket that they threw around him, just like they had done to Bill. And before anyone could get the names of those American hunters, they and their station wagon were gone. No one even got the whole license number. Those men were good neighbours. They didn’t care about the rewards, or the penalties, they stepped in to help when it was needed and they vanished after they performed their act of neighbourship, if that’s even a word. That was in 1984, by the way. My dad won two awards for that rescue – one from the Canadian Trucker’s Association (yes, apparently they had one – newsletter and everything) and one from The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (the St. John’s Ambulance people) – for heroism. I can emotionally tell you that it was one of the rare occasions where I saw humility in a good sense (as opposed to humiliation) in my dad. He told everyone at that dinner in Toronto (where He and Mom stated in suite 777 for a week at the King Edward Hotel as a part of the prize) that he was just the guy that was there at the right time, and he expected Bill would have done the same thing for him if the situations were revered. All he did was love his neighbour as he would love himself. Moving on.
10: Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
- You see, agape love would rather do something and bear the consequences of hurt and pain rather than see it come to another. An example would be the soldier that throws himself on the grenade to save his buddies at the expense of himself. And I can think of a better and more far-reaching example. Think about our Lord Jesus Christ. Even the people He was angry with, He did what was right and told the truth to them. He didn’t pull any punches, and it got Him crucified – but it was all part of a greater plan to give himself up for all those that would ever believe on Him. He never did wrong. And He fulfilled the Law, and even bore its penalty so that those who believe had nothing to pay, but like Abraham, could turn to Him in faith – the faith, I might add, which He gave – to justify us and bring us into His family by adoption as mature offspring.
Clearly, our motivation for all of our behaviour is not “to earn our salvation,” as many would suggest, but instead to “live out” our salvation, and do those good works that God prepared ahead of time for us to do, not by our own strength, but by His power alone. There is nothing that the unredeemed heart can do to manufacture love that it does not have, particularly not agape love, that is to say, God’s love, it gives of itself, it sacrifices itself for others – no one can do that on their own, they MUST have the Holy Spirit, that is God Himself, living inside us and bringing us toward the Father by His power and the work of Jesus and His and Jesus’ intercession for us.
For all the help that the holy Spirit gives us to actually do those good acts of mercy, we should understand that there is more than motivation, but there is a logic or rationale behind it, and when we understand the rationale, it motivates us to act out all the behaviours as that “law written in our heart” put there at the time of our justification before God as a new nature completely, ever different from the old.
11-14: The reasoning for our motivation
That rationale, as one would expect has logic behind it, it is not simply brainless activity like babbling in ecstasy and pretending it is the language of heavenly beings, who always somehow seem to speak the same language as the people they appear to. That is Charismaniac nonsense. No, we must have a knowledge of what is coming and what to do about it, and who to seek at such a time. Have a look here.
11: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
- We must love everyone with an understanding that we are running out of time. At some point, the Lord is coming back to the earth, and then if will be too late to partake of His heavenly mercy and grace. Or our lives will end at the time He has chosen in the manner He has chosen, and we will die. Then it will also be too late to change anything. That makes one time to be very important. We must do all this NOW, because now is the only time we are relatively sure we have. Now, our salvation is nearer than when we believed. That does not mean we are not saved, that means that we are all that much closer to our trials and tribulations being over and our eternal fellowship with Christ will begin.
12: The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
- I love the analogy that Paul uses here. The night, the time where hidden things can happen, usually bad hidden things, is almost gone. That in itself is interesting, because this period of “almost gone’ is also called the last days, the last hour, etc., and it is drawing to a close. No one knows how long that will take, but make no mistake – the day is near, when all the deeds of darkness can no longer be hidden and we will enter a new day where only righteousness dwells.
- And in the middle of the verse, the word “therefore.” Conclusion from time is short for the darkness? Let us lay aside the deeds we do in that darkness, like adultery, murder, thieving, coveting, lying – like that – and put on the armour of light. I do not believe this is physical armour, I believe it is spiritual, and put on before the day arises, it can protect us from those deeds of darkness done by our Enemy. We could at this time break off and look at Ephesians 6:10-20, but we will leave it at the reference that you can examine on your own for self-edification.
13: Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.
- From verse 12, Paul is pretty clear that it is still night. And yet his encouragement is that we behave properly as in the day. He even defines by example what that behaviour should be.
- Not in carousing and drunkenness. I have done this in my past, and I could define it as drinking parties or drug parties (never really did that) that were held for the sake of just becoming and remaining inebriated. Had a lot of fun at the time, but some of the hangovers – oy vey…
- Not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality. The first part of that is easy to understand. No sleeping around with anyone. No playing at something that is supposed to be sacred and speaks of the intimacy of the Godhead and of the Church.
- Not in strife and jealousy. No arguing for arguing’s sake. No envious analysis of comparisons between you and everyone else. Stop that – it is all works of darkness that lead to continuing of that darkness.
14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
- Here, Paul is giving us the key to the whole chapter – if you find your behaviour slipping back into the world, our solution is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The sense of the Greek here is to be clothed with or to sink into a garment. Put Him on like putting on a coat.
- And when we put on that Lord Jesus Christ like a coat, we are to make no provision for the flesh with regards to its lusts. An example of that would be a thief not taking positions that have to do with money. Like that. The key is in Christ. He is the logic behind the motivation behind the behaviour Paul talks about here.
The reasoning or logic behind everything is Christ. Have a problem with being argumentative? Your answer is to put on Christ. Have a problem with sensuality including looking at internet pornography or masturbation? Your answer is to put on Christ. Got a problem with substance abuse? Your solution is in Christ alone! Only He can give you the steps you need to take to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. So put on the Lord Jesus and walk with Him.
As you do that, you will begin to understand the motivation behind all the deeds, especially as you read through the Word of God, but that’s just a personal observation. Ultimately that will work itself out into our behaviour, first to believers, then to all people, and ultimately to society as a whole. And as we do that, we will see that putting on Christ, that is putting on the New Man in Christ and putting to death that old nature, is the key to the whole plan.
And that’s chapter 13!
Next time, chapter 14.