Rom 13:11"Our salvation is nearer" . Paul wants those saints, and us, to understand that we need to be up and doing, "awake out of our sleep" because the time of our accounting is nearer than we think.
Not only are we to be aware of our own accountability, but Ezekiel teaches us that we need to be good examples to, and warn, our neighbors--"when a righteous man doth….commit iniquity, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (Ezek 3:20)This is kind of heavy stuff. Evidently, the righteous man, of his own accord, turned away from the truth. But we have responsibility, as Visiting teachers and home teachers, to fellowship and encourage a wanderer to return. If we don't do our part, we will be held accountable before the Lord.
D&C 14:7 teaches us that in addition to keeping the commandments, we must endure to the end, which, if one thinks about it too hard, can seem like an awfully long time. I had a friend once point out that it might be a easier to wrap our mind around that concept if the wording was "enjoy to the end". Endure sometimes denotes drudgery, while enjoy paints a picture of joy in the journey. I think it's most likely a healthy dose of both.
Romans 12 and 13 are verses that I very much wanted to use in the "Finding Doctrines" section of this lesson. But, because of the length of the passage, and I couldn't choose anything to leave out, I choose other points that I loved. I was so pleased to see these verses show up in this unit.
V 1 Keep our bodies as a living sacrifice (exercise self-restraint),
holy, acceptable unto God (through God's mercies) and perform service
V 2 Don't conform to the world, Keep our mind renewed (the glory
of God is Intelligence), prove what is good, acceptable, perfect, and the will of God
V 9 Show sincere love, abhor evil/cleave unto good
V 12 (I added this verse to the list) Rejoice in hope -- I love it-- be
patient in trials, continue in Instant prayer
V 13 Give unto the poor, be hospitable--especially to the new faces
V 16 Be of one mind, conform with the humble, Not Prideful!
V 18 (another addition to the list) If it be possible,…..Live peaceably
with all men
V 21 Over come evil with good
V 1 Be subject to the power of God--not the will, in this case, but
the power of God. Let his power come into our life.
V 3 Do that which is good!
V 8 Avoid debt (Interesting!) Love one anther
V 9 Do not commit adultery, don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't
covet,… and Love thy neighbor as thyself
Paul asked several pointed questions as he taught about the dangers of judging:
- Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? (v 4)(Who do
you think you are, anyway?)
- Why dost thou judge thy brother? (v 10)
- Why dost thou set at naught thy brother? (v 10)
He then follows up with this counsel--for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ (v10). He quotes the Savior's teachings--"As I live", saith the Lord, "every knee shall bow to me and every tongue confess to God." (V 11) And in verse 12--.."every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Finally a plea-- "Let us not therefore judge one another any more:" (v 13) And he asks us not to put stumbling blocks in each other's way.
Just as we do today, the Saints in the Early Church seemed to have different opinions about whether or not to eat meat. Paul used this specific example to point out that we shouldn't trifle over things that just don't matter-- Rom 14:17--"For the Kingdom of God is not Meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." We need to stick to the doctrine and edify one another-- v 19--"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
I just mis-typed edify as deify. That's an amazing coincidence, isn't it? Just switch those two letters and one leads to the other.
The Doctrine and Covenants gives us additional counsel--Section 38, verses 25-27--"..let every man esteem his brother as himself.
…., be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine."
Paul refers to the people to whom and about whom he is writing as Saints. The Bible Dictionary tells us that Saint is a translation of a Greek word meaning "holy", indicating consecration or separation for a sacred purpose; it came to mean "free from blemish", whether physical or moral. In Paul's time, the saints are all those who were baptized and entered into the Christian covenant.