Now let’s just really quickly review:
Paul, in the first 8 chapters, Paul outlines the theology of God’s righteousness, and what God’s righteousness is all about.
And Paul makes clear that God’s standard of righteousness is different than our standard of righteousness.
And how God declares us to be righteous, is different, than how the Jews, or the Gentiles, understood righteousness.
And so Paul aims to make that clear in the first 8 chapters of Romans.
Paul also groups salvation into three main groups, being Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification.
Justification is delivery from the penalty of sin. This is a one time action. Once you are justified, once you are forgiven, you can never become unjustified. There is no need to ever be justified again.
Then we have sanctification; which is delivery from the power of sin.
This is an ongoing process as we walk in our new nature in this fallen world.
Every Christian has observed that even though we are justified, and filled with the Holy Spirit, we are still battling sin and temptation.
But we are going through this sanctification process, learning how to properly live in our new nature, with the end goal, which is, conforming to the image of Jesus Christ.
And then we have glorification, which is the delivery from the presence of sin.
And this will happen when we are resurrected or raptured.
And then Paul concludes that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God.
Now like Paul’s other books, as soon as he is finished with his theology, Paul goes into practical applications of his theology.
We see this in the book of Ephesians.
The first three chapters are strictly theology, and the last three chapters are almost strictly application.
It’s hard to have good application without good theology.
Yet you must have good theology in order to properly apply biblical truths into your every day life.
Now maybe you are one that gets tired of discussing doctrine, or are not interested in Biblical theology.
But how you understand Biblical truth, affects how you behave now.
Which is why Paul starts with theology, and then goes on to application.
Just as a simple illustration.
If you had precise knowledge that a robber was planning on robbing your house, at exactly 3:15 AM in the morning.
That understanding, that knowledge, would most definitely affect your actions.
You will be ready, waiting, maybe you will have the cops on standby.
Your understanding, in this case, will affect how you behave.
And the same principle is true about religion.
If your Biblical doctrine, for example, is that God supports your current lifestyle, you will never feel the need to change your old sinful life patterns.
But if your Biblical doctrine is that God has accepted you the way you are, and loves you, and forgives you, but wants you to change, in order to conform to the image of His son.
Then you are going to take more seriously your battles against sin and temptation.
So theology matters.
Because what we know affects how we act.
Now in chapters 9, 10, and 11, Paul had to address some questions that naturally come up from what he said in the first 8 chapters.
Paul had outlined that, if it is really true that we have a relationship with God, and our future glorification, our life in heaven with God, is dependent upon God’s promises to keep us,
and if it is really true that nothing can separate us from the love of God,
How do we know that God is going to keep those promises, in light of the fact that there seems to be promises made to Israel that God has so far not fulfilled.
And supposing that God can avoid fulfilling his promises to Israel, how can we know that God will decide not to follow through with his promises to us.
But Paul made clear that God has not broken his promises to Israel.
In Chapters 9, 10, and 11, Paul outlines how Israel rejecting their Messiah did not catch God by surprise, but was instead part of God’s plan for salvation to the whole world.
To the purpose, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The gift of salvation is offered to everyone.
And then Chapter 11 ends with, that Israel rejecting their Messiah is not final.
But when God is finished with his plan for the Gentiles, He will again turn to Israel, and All Israel at that time will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus as their Messiah.
And God’s promises to Israel will be fulfilled.
So God’s program with Israel has not failed, but is continuing according to His divine plan.
And Israel, one day soon, will experience the fullness of God’s grace as a nation.
Now, after Paul outlined his theology, and answered those questions that would naturally come up, Paul then goes to practical applications for the rest of the chapters.
The Chapter 12 application is mainly about our duties as Christians as we live in this world. How we are to conduct ourselves.
The three main areas of duties outlined in chapter 12 is our duty towards God, our duty towards ourselves, and our duty towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Then, in chapter 13, which is what we are reading today, Paul turns to a second major area of application, which is our duty to our government, to the state.
As a Christian, we are people who are not of the world, but are still in the world. And so being in the world, we have certain human obligations.
And Paul will now detail how we should live in regards to human government.
Now remember what our obligation is to our Lord, who was crucified in order that we might be saved.
Paul said in the last chapter:
[Romans 12:1-2 KJV] 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Paul says that this is our reasonable service. It is the least we can do for God, who sacrificed His son, that we might have life.
So let’s begin reading our text, and see what our Christian duty is in regards to government:
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Those that are in authority in government are here meant by “powers”.
The first reason Paul gives is that civil government is from God. There is no power but of God.
Those individuals who are found to be in the government, have their office by appointment and are ordained by God.
This is not just a New Testament teaching, but it is also an Old Testament teaching.
Particularly in the book of Daniel.
King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God for boasting about his achievements as king,
So as a judgment by God, He developed a mental illness, and He lost his sanity, and lived like an animal for seven years, according to Daniel, chapter 4.
The medical name for the condition he had is called boanthropy, a psychological disorder in which the person believes he or she is a cow.
It is a real mental disorder, documented in medical journals.
When King Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was later restored he praised and honoured the God of Israel.
And the reason he was disciplined, we read:
King Nebuchadnezzar writes this himself in Daniel Chapter 4:
[Daniel 4:17 KJV] 17 [This was done] to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the basest (or lowliest) of men.
Nebuchadnezzar confirms, that God sets up kings, and puts down kings.
In Daniel, chapter 10, as Daniel is praying and fasting for 21 days, Michael an archangel appears to him, who had been fighting against an evil angel, a spiritual force behind the kingdom of Persia,
And Michael tells Daniel that the kingdom of Greece shall rise after the Kingdom of Persia.
This was declared about 200 years before it happened, When Alexander the Great conquered the known world around 330 B.C.
So we see examples in history that God is able to control what nations rise to power, and when they rise.
And also what nations fall and when they fall.
And what Paul is telling us now, is that God is even in control of human government.
And no one becomes a king or a ruler without God’s appointment.
No one becomes the president without God’s appointment.
God will use elections to put a man he has chosen to be in high office.
So our last two American presidents, we have to conclude from Scripture, that ultimately, God appointed these men into the highest offices of the land.
And remember what the Scriptures says…
God even sets over a kingdom, the basest (or lowliest) of men. And that’s not a compliment.
Neither of these men have a history of Godly moral virtue.
I know many Christians who had a very hard time voting for Trump because of the character issues that came out in the media about him.
And if you thought any of these presidents were immoral, they pale in comparison to the things King Nebuchadnezzar is recorded to have done.
I can’t even talk about what King Nebuchadnezzar did because it’s just too wicked and perverse.
Yet God appoints whosoever he wills. Even the basest of men.
2 Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
If we resist the one that is in control, because we don’t like the fact that he won, we are technically, according to this verse resisting God.
And they that oppose shall receive the judgement of God.
They will receive discipline from God.
The prophet Jeremiah echoed the same words when Israel as a nation came under discipline by the Lord, and God determined that Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon, would rule over them.
(Jeremiah 27:12-13) “I also spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, ‘Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live! Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord has spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?’”.
So you see here, discipline is threatened to any of the Jews who do not accept God’s new appointment of rule.
Sadly, God’s people refused to listen to Jeremiah’s warnings and his encouragement to submit themselves to God’s judgment in the form of being ruled by the King of Babylon.
They rebelled and thus suffered horrible destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, which we read about in 2 Chronicles 36:13-19.
It broke Jeremiah’s heart to see this happen to his people:
“My eyes fail with tears, my heart is troubled; my bile is poured on the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because the children and the infants faint in the streets of the city” (Lamentations 2:11).
And then you contrast that with how the prophet Daniel responded to God’s appointment of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel accepted God’s appointment as God’s will.
And so Daniel served the King. Daniel, became friends with the King. King Nebuchadnezzar even grew to love Daniel.
In fact, Daniel had such an influence on King Nebuchadnezzar, who was a very immoral and evil king, that King Nebuchadnezzar eventually acknowledged, and praised, and honored, the God of Israel.
Nebuchadnezzar himself writes, in Daniel chapter 4:
[Daniel 4:37 KJV] 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
That is King Nebuchadnezzar’s own writing.
What a wonderful confession from a man who did some very evil and immoral things in his life, and who also worshiped many false gods.
There is an ancient text, the Prayer of Nabonidus, that hints that it was Daniel who took care of King Nebuchadnezzar during his 7 years of mental illness, towards the end of his reign.
The words of the prayer of Nabonidus, the king of Assyria and Babylon, the great king, prayed when he was smitten with a malignant disease by the decree of the Most High God in the city of Tema. I was smitten for seven years and from men I was put away. But when I confessed my sins and my faults, He God allowed me to have a soothsayer. This was a jewish man of the exiles in Babylon. He explained it and wrote me to render honor and great glory to the name of the Most High God…
This could or could not be true.
Either way, Daniel made the best out of a bad situation, and made the most of it, serving an oppressive king, understanding it to be God’s will.
And this was a King who even captured and killed Daniel’s own people, the Jewish people.
But as a result of Daniel’s faithfulness, God blessed Daniel greatly, and gave him insight and understanding to future things, and many other blessings.
And now we have this wonderful book of Daniel as part of our Bible.
And that is what it’s all about.
As Christians, our focus should be our witness for God, not on living our best life now.
Jesus says in Matthew:
[Matthew 10:18 KJV] 18 And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them…
And it’s speaking of our testimony we have in Jesus Christ, sharing the hope that we have to governors and kings.
Now something Daniel did not do, is compromise on personal sin.
We need to make that very clear.
While in service to the King, whether to the king of Babylon, or to the king of Persia, whenever Daniel got to a point where Government Law went against God’s law, Daniel was sure to follow God’s law.
Daniel purposed in his heart not to eat any of the King’s meat, either because it was unclean, or because it was sacrificed unto idols.
So Daniel resisted an ordinance of the King, so as not to break God’s law, and God blessed Daniel for it. God gave him favor in the eyes of his overseers.
Daniel later was threatened with death in the lions den if he didn’t stop praying to the God of Israel, but Daniel went right on praying to God, not letting the king’s law nullify God’s law.
As a result, Daniel was miraculously saved in the lion’s den.
Now what do we do in situations like Adolf Hitler, Kim Jong-Un, and other despot rulers?
There is a balance that we are to have between respecting those who are in positions of power, but at the same, not to nullify God’s law.
The Bible is clear that we are not to be guilty of personal sin.
And so at what point are we allowed to not obey authority.
It is whenever the authority is asking us to do something that goes contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
Look at Peter and John, who were given these direct commands from Jesus himself.
[Matthew 28:18-20 KJV] 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
So Peter and John were doing that in the Synagogue, and they healed a man who was lame for over 40 years, and was preaching repentance through Jesus Christ.
And they drew quite a crowd.
Now the Sanhedrin, and the leaders and rulers of Israel, did not like this, and they put Peter and John in jail, and then gave them strict orders.
[Acts 4:17-20 KJV] 17 But that [this teaching] spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name [in the name of Jesus].
18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken (or listen) unto you more than unto God, you judge.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
What a bold response to the leaders.
John the Baptist did the same thing.
King Herod, who identified as a Jew, had married the former wife of his brother, Philip, which was against the Mosaic Law.
John the Baptist boldly spoke out against this marriage, much to the dislike of Herodias, Herod’s new wife.
As a result, John the Baptist was put in prison, and eventually, beheaded.
And Jesus spoke very well of John saying: Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:
So your nobel protest against evil rulers to adhere to God’s law may not always end with a rescue, like in Daniel, or his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were saved from the fiery furnace for not bowing to a statue.
But it could end up like John the Baptist, where you are martyred. So keep that in mind.
We have an interesting case with David as well, who would dare not kill God’s annointed king, King Saul, yet the annointed King Saul was trying to Kill David.
David even had an opportunity to kill Saul in the cave, but only cut a part of his cloak off, showing mercy and kindness to King Saul.
David put his trust and faith in God, and did not compromise in following God or keeping his commandments.
And we see that God took care of David, and eventually did make David King.
And Saul was killed, not by the hands of David, but by the hands of the Philistines.
So God will always have a way of carrying out justice in a righteous way, often using one evil person or nation to carry out judgement upon another person or nation.
Our goal should be, in whatever situation we are in, to serve God, and do not become guilty of personal sin.
I think David was able to come out as King of Israel, and have a clean conscience, knowing that he did no evil in order to obtain his crown.
I don’t think many kings and Presidents can say the same.
Most of them seem to compromise greatly with their conscience in order to obtain power.
Before the Exodus period, the Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered Shiphrah and Puah, Hebrew midwives, that all newborn male Hebrew babies were to be immediately put to death upon birth.
But we read:
[Exodus 1:17-21 KJV] 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have you done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered soon before the midwives come in unto them.
So the midwives lied to Pharaoh. They said that the Hebrew woman are quick to give birth before they get a chance to see the baby.
And then we read in verse 20:
20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
So the midwives were blessed.
The story is similar for Queen Esther and Mordecai who opposed Haman.
In fact, Mordecai would not bow down to Haman because the type of bowing that was required was a bowing and prostration, which is the type of bowing you did for God.
So Mordechai did not kneel or prostrate to Haman because Haman considered himself a deity, or a god of some kind.
If a Jew is told to choose between certain death and the worship of a deity other than the one true God—for a Jew there is only one option.
Haman demanded worship as a deity. Mordechai, by God’s law, had to refuse at any cost.
And so Haman plotted a scheme to have all the Jews destroyed.
But God, who’s hand is not too short to accomplish anything, saved Mordecai, Esther, and all the Jews in that land. And instead, Haman and his family died.
So God honored Mordecai, who would not serve or worship any God, other than the one true God of Israel.
So when a government itself has been put out of its rightful place, and starts to go contrary to the laws of God, there is a biblical precedent of fearing and obeying God, over fearing and obeying the state.
The point of government is to do good, and punish the evil.
But when a government reaches a state as it was under Nazi Germany, where they promoted the evil, to destroy the good, at that point, a believer must, by necessity, must disobey the government.
During World War II, There were some Christians in Poland who said they could not hide Jewish Christians, because the government said you must not hide Jews in your house.
Those Christians said you must obey the government, and they cited this verse here in Romans.
But they were misapplying the text. And this is why Biblical doctrine is important.
If that group of polish citizens had a better theology, better doctrine, during that time, they too would have done what many other Polish citizens did, and what the Hebrew midwives did in Egypt, and disobeyed the authorities, and saved many of the Jews.
I am glad that there were many Polish citizens who did disobey the authorities, and saved Polish Jews
And again, that’s why Biblical doctrine is important. It is important for us to really study our Bible, and to have correct doctrine,
so we can make wise decisions, and always do those things which please God, in all circumstances that we are in, much like Daniel in the Bible was able to do.
The rule seems to be, to the best of my understanding, according to Scripture, that you obey and serve the government, except on the points when a leader’s command conflicts with God’s command.
And I think Daniel would be the ideal example to follow when living under an oppressive government.
So as stated earlier, the first reason to be in subjection to government, is that government is from God. There is no power but of God.
The second reason for subjection to government is in verse 3
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
So even in that verse, Paul is talking about a relatively healthy government, that at least promotes good works, and punishes evil.
A Government that promotes evil, and punishes good, does not fall under Paul’s description here.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.
This word minister of God is interesting, because in this context, it can be either a believer or unbeliever.
It’s interesting to think that you can not believe in God, yet you can still be a minister of God if you have a role in government.
They are ministers of God for the purpose of preserving order in society.
King Cyrus, the first king of the Persian empire, whose name was recorded in the Bible some 200 years before he was born, who was not even a Jew, God had this to say about him:
[Isaiah 44:28 KJV] 28 Who says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, You shall be built; and to the temple, Your foundation shall be laid.
Cyrus was appointed to be a minister of God, and he was going to accomplish certain things for God.
Namely, helping with the rebuilding of Jerusalem after Babylon destroyed it.
I can’t help to think if Trump was appointed for a similar reason.
Then President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered the planning of the relocation of Israel’s U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
This was a very controversial decision at the time. And there were many nations who did not want this to happen.
And it was such a hotly contested issue, it didn’t seem like there could ever be a president that would make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
But as it turned out, it took a firebrand like Trump to make it happen.
And we assume after the fact, that it was God’s will for Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.
So God has his reasons for appointing who he appoints.
And right now, God has appointed Biden to be our leader.
Maybe you don’t like that. Maybe you wanted a different person in office.
But our mindset should be similar to that of King David or Daniel.
King David would not dare touch or challenge God’s annointed, King Saul, at that time, even while Saul was trying to kill him.
And David even had mercy upon Saul when David had a chance to kill him.
But instead, David trusted in God, and focused on being faithful to God in all circumstances he was in.
And then Daniel. Daniel served a king, who again, captured and killed his own Jewish people, yet Daniel served the king faithfully,
and gave a positive witness of the one true God of Israel, all while not compromising his fear or commandments of God.
It’s interesting to note that King Saul, the first king of Israel, when he was rebuked by Samuel, was charged by Samuel as not obeying the voice of the LORD:
And Saul confessed:
[1 Samuel 15:24 KJV] 24 …I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and your words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
Saul feared the people, and obeyed the people’s voice, over, fearing God, and obeying God’s voice.
This we must never do.
Fear God, and His Voice, first. THEN, second, we fear and obey those leader whom God appoints.
The Bible also says a leader is a divinely appointed avenger for wrath to him that does evil.
And that those in leadership do not bare the sword in vain.
Which means that a ruler carries the sword with the authority to discipline, to punish, to execute, to those who are in disobedience to the Law.
Something many U.S. presidents have in common is their war against terrorism.
The Bible says that rulers are divinely appointed avengers for wrath to them that do evil.
And I think we can all agree that these extreme terrorist groups fall under the category of “them that do evil”.
In verse 5 we have a third reason.
The third reason is:
5 Therefore it is necessary to be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Our conscience must be clean.
Our conscience is clean if we follow through with what God commands in the Word of God.
And one of these commands from God is to be in subjection to governmental authority.
So be a law-abiding citizen, as long as the laws are not in conflict with the law of God.
Our text says, that it is necessary.
It is a necessity. Not only because of wrath, but because of conscience sake.
In verses 6 and 7, Paul concludes the segment with certain practical applications.
[Romans 13:6-7 NASB95] 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
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.
We all experience varying degrees of advantages from a government.
We currently enjoy nice roads, hospitals, a relatively stable economy, peace, protection, education, law enforcement, and many other things.
And so we must do what we can to preserve it, and do nothing to disturb it. But improve upon it.
And if we have protection from the government, we owe subjection to it.
By upholding the government, we ensure our own security and protection.
And so by acknowledging our subjection, we pay taxes. And God wants us to pay our taxes.
And to be honest in all things.
And by paying taxes, we are recognizing that there are services being conducted by the government that we are expecting to receive benefit from.
We may not support every single service, and some of the programs may be evil, but there are many services from a government that we do benefit from.
Now if your conscience is convicting you not to pay taxes because of an evil program that goes against God’s law, then you may need to have your own Daniel moment, or Mordecai moment.
And that’s something you can pray to God about for wisdom and guidance. But generally speaking, God wants us to pay our taxes.
Jesus himself payed a tribute to Rome so as not to offend Ceaser. Render to Ceaser, what is Ceaser’s, Jesus said.
Then, in verses 8-10, Paul deals with some private obligations.
[Romans 13:8-10 NASB95] 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
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.”
10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
In verse 8, Paul continues the theme of justice showing the motivation of love will naturally cause us to fulfill the obligations laid upon us in the Scriptures.
Owe no man anything, but to love one another.
He that loves his neighbor has fulfilled and will fulfill the law of God.
In verse 9, Paul gives a summary of the law and quotes 4 of the 10 commandments.
And the ones he quotes have to do with our relationship with other people.
And so if we love our neighbor as ourselves, we will naturally fulfill those commandments that have to do with our relationship with other people.
In verses 11-14, Paul ends with a motivation.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of it.
In verse 11, Paul gives us our motivation for living out the Christian life consistently.
And that is the nearness of our final salvation.
The final salvation where Paul talked about in chapter 8, which is the redemption of our body, and being removed from the presence of sin.
And this will happen at the resurrection or the rapture.
And as each day passes, we draw closer to that day,
and so we are closer today than we were yesterday, in regards to the redemption of our bodies.
We don’t know when Jesus will come back. But we know for certain, Jesus will come back, and he will establish his Kingdom here on earth, and eventually, will set up a New Heavens, and a New Earth.
And we will be given new, incorruptible bodies.
We should be putting off the works of darkness.
And replacing it with the armor of light.
We should be acting as if we are always in the public eye.
It is often when no eyes are upon us, or no eyes can see us because of darkness, that we begin to relax our morals, and break God’s commandments.
The equation is, that night produces works of darkness. The day produces works of light.
The very word cast off in this context is telling us to take off our night time clothing.
If you were to go into public in your night time clothing, you would become embarrassed and ashamed.
In the same way, let us take off our night time behavior, and behave as if we are always in the light of day, in the public eye.
And when you take something off, you have to put something else on. So Paul says, Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.
And do not provide for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
Paul is talking about putting on spiritual clothing.
Those who clothe themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ are believers who have received the Holy Spirit, and who do not focus on gratifying the desires of their sinful nature, but instead, choose to walk in the Spirit.
Paul says in Galatians, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
If you want God to transform your heart. If you want a new heart, a new mind, new desires, new hopes, new longings, new abilities.
If you want God to create in you a clean heart, God invites you to come to him just the way you are.
He loves you, with a deep and everlasting love, and invites you into an everlasting fellowship with him.
The Bible says, Jesus stands at the door a knocks, and wants to come into your life, but you have to let him in.
The Bible says: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And when you put on Christ, and you begin to walk in the Spirit, you will become so closely united with Jesus that others will no longer see you, but see Jesus in you.
This invitation from God, God offers to you now.
Let me close in prayer.