TODAY’S READING: Romans 11–13
Let us not forget the missionary purpose of living sacrificial lives and being unconformed to this world, transformed by renewed minds. The purpose is that both Jew and Gentile might be saved. This goal—all people groups, the fullness of the Gentiles—is the “good and perfect and acceptable will of God” (Rom. 12:3). In view of God’s mercies on all people, Paul urged the Romans to live in such a way that the perfect will of God would be completed.
This is why we serve one another (vv. 3–8), because we are a body comprised of Indians, Asians, Arabs, Tartars, Latins, Europeans, Africans, and Americans. Being patient in tribulation, blessing those who persecute us, weeping with those who weep, and associating with the humble without being wise in our own opinion are all missionary skills (vv. 12, 14–16). All these obedient actions are needed in the pursuit of Jew and Gentile being saved so that when the world is reconciled, we all might partake of life from the dead! We read Romans thinking of Paul as a master theologian (that is true), but let us not forget he was essentially a passionate missionary. Romans is a burning missionary treatise focused on God fulfilling His grand mission of obedient worshipers from every people group. Paul called Christians of every age to live in such a way as to expedite this grand ambition of God.
We are to live out the love of God for one another—that is, the global one another, not just the one another we married or married into or that looks/speaks/talks/acts/thinks like us. Because the love of God is for the world, our “one another love” must be for the world, the others of the world, the others who have not yet heard of the love of God. The author who tells us to owe nothing but love framed himself as a debtor to both Jew and Greek with the love he owed them being the preaching of the gospel. To love like Paul loved is to love like Jesus loved, which is to love unreached peoples by preaching repentance to them for the glory of God.
And we do this knowing the time of our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. In the Bible, “salvation” is completed on the last day, the day when King Jesus comes back in power, glory, and wrath to judge the living and the dead. On that day those under the blood will have the death judgment pass over them and they will be saved from the wrath of God. We walk properly, putting on the Lord Jesus, making no provision for the flesh, for the day of wrath is at hand, the night is far spent (13:12–14).
To walk properly is to walk after Paul as he walked after Christ. It is to walk in holiness for the steadfast purpose of loving the world to safety. That love will cost us everything. It will cause us to walk away from home and comfort and towards the heathen and the cross. It will take us down dusty trails and through urban jungles. It will take us to loneliness and trial. It will take us ultimately to glory, to the joy of “all Israel” being saved (11:26).