Paul's Epistle to the Romans

 (47) Responsibilities Towards Neighbors
Romans 13:8-14 (KJV)



8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
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 not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.


Part 1: Subjection to the citizens of the state. 13:8–10. Love for God and for your neighbor is the highest motive for obedience. Love does what is right and just and seeks the best for others. By nature, we do not have this kind of love—“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3); the Lord gives it to us—“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).


8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:
Basically, the first part of this verse means “Pay your bills on time.” It is not a prohibition against any form of debt. Some kinds of debt are inevitable in our society: most of us face monthly bills for telephone, gas, light, water, rent or mortgage payments, etc. And it is impossible to manage a business without contracting some debts. The admonition here is not to get into arrears (overdue accounts). But in addition there are certain principles which should guide us in this area. We should not contract debts for nonessentials. We should not go into debt when there is no hope of repaying. We should avoid buying on the installment plan, incurring exorbitant interest charges. We should avoid borrowing to buy a product that depreciates in value. In general, we should practice financial responsibility by living modestly and within our means, always remembering that the borrower is slave to the lender—“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). The bondage of indebtedness is exceedingly cruel.

The one debt that is always outstanding is the obligation to love. The word used for love in Romans, with only one exception (12:10), is agapē, which signifies a deep, unselfish, superhuman affection which one person has for another. This otherworldly love is not activated by any virtue in the person loved; rather, it is completely undeserved. It is unlike any other love in that it goes out not only to the lovable but to one’s enemies as well. Love enables us to perfectly fulfill all our obligations, whether to the state, to the citizens, or to God. More than anyone, Christians ought to pay their debts and honor their obligations. To be ever-increasingly in debt is to show a lack of regard and love for the one to whom you are indebted. We should not buy what we cannot reasonably afford.

This love manifests itself in giving, and generally in sacrificial giving. Thus, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.

It is primarily a matter of the will rather than the emotions. The fact that we are commanded to love indicates that it is something we can choose to do. If it were an uncontrollable emotion that swept over us at unexpected moments, we could scarcely be held accountable. This does not deny, however, that the emotions can be involved.

It is impossible for an unconverted person to manifest this divine love. In fact, it is impossible even for a believer to demonstrate it in his own strength. It can only be exhibited by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Love found its perfect expression on earth in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our love for God manifests itself in obedience to His commandments.

Love, is always seeking the best interests of others. Here, it is the interests of the creditor that are in view; all obligations made to our creditor are to be met. The debt of love, however, can never be completely dismissed. Any payment made in this respect does not release us from continued indebtedness. We may do all that is possible for our neighbor, but still we are to love him. This is now enforced by two considerations: (1) that love fulfills the law of God (vv. 9, 10); (2) that the time is short (vv. 11–14).

We may find ourselves in debt, and if that is the case, we should make every effort not to continue in anyone’s debt; while you are able to pay it, pay it. Do not spend on yourself that which you owe to others. “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again” (Ps. 37:21). Many that are very sensible think little of the sin of being in debt.

Love is a debt. The law of God and the interest of mankind make it so. It is not a thing which we are at liberty about, but it is an instruction for us from God. For love is the fulfilling of the law; not perfectly, but it is a good step towards it. It is inclusive of all the duties of the second table of the Ten Commandments, which he specifies in verse 9. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John. 4:20). If the love is sincere, it is accepted as the fulfilling of the law. Surely we serve a good master, that has summed up all our duty in one word, and that word is a short word and a sweet word—love. Loving and being loved is all the pleasure, joy, and happiness, of an intelligent being. “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and love is his image upon the soul: where it is present, the soul is well molded, and the heart fitted for every good work.

F or he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Paul announces the purpose to which his prayers are directed, when he says, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). Stablish means to “buttress” or “support” an existing structure; here the personal faith of the Thessalonians is the objective in view. His desire is that their hearts will be strengthened and unblameable in holiness as they wait for the coming Savior. Paul again uses the phrase at the coming, which has become a Christian technical term for the Second Coming. It is qualified here by the words with all his saints. The word saints is used here to refer to holy persons, namely believers [1](Ephesians 1:1), or to holy beings like angels [2](Mark 8:38). It is possible that both are in view.  Paul had a deep love for the saints and his prayer manifested that love as he asked the Lord for them to have hearts that are unblameable in holiness. The result of love in this life is blamelessness in the next. If we love one another and all mankind, we will stand blameless in holiness before our God when Christ comes with all His saints, for love is the fulfilling of the law “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8). This verse sounds a lot like the verse we are considering; “for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

The law itself is love in manifold action, regarded as a matter of duty. The man who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law, or at least that section of the law which teaches love for our fellowmen. Among Israelites “neighbor” stood for a fellow-Israelite. The Lord widened its scope with His parable of the Good Samaritan. What comprises the claim of the

Law of God goes beyond the needs of fellow-countrymen to the needs of anyone of whatever race.

The words hath fulfilled may mean either, (a) that the full intention of the law is expressed in one precept, or, (b) that the whole law is fulfilled where this one precept is observed. In verses 8–10, the apostle deals with this subject at greater length and the separate commandments of the law are identified and “summed up” in the same precept. This consideration favors the former interpretation, but at the close of the paragraph in verse 10 he asserts that “love … is the fulfillment of the law,” thus favoring the latter meaning. It is probable then that the two ideas are combined here, and that the distinction is not made between the individual laws. It certainly follows then, that if all the commandments of the law are summed up in one precept, then to keep that precept is to keep the whole law.

Here it states “for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” And in another place it says, “All the law is fulfilled in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” (Galatians. 5:14). This is the very thing which Christ himself teaches when he says, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets,” (Matthew 7:12). It is certain that, in the law and the prophets, faith, and whatever pertains to the due worship of God, holds the first place, and that to this charity (love) is made subordinate; but our Lord means, that in the Law the observance of justice and equity towards men is prescribed as the means which we are to employ in testifying a pious fear of God, if we truly possess it.

Love adds to the complete performance of the law, because it shows that we do not conform to the law out of duty but out of a right heart attitude. No man will commit adultery, murder, or theft if the love of Christ motivates his heart. No man will cause ill to his neighbor if the basis of his action is love. Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (lit., “the fulfillment of the law”). If the law is filled to the brim with love, it is a law which can easily be obeyed. The believer will have no difficulty in being in subjection to the citizens of the state if his heart is filled with love toward them. Love is a debt which can, never be discharged. We should feel that we owe this to all men; and though by acts of kindness we may be constantly discharging it, yet we should feel that it can never be fully met while there is opportunity to do good.

In the preceding verses (1-7 of Chapter 13) the apostle has been showing the duty, reverence, and obedience, which all Christians, from the highest to the lowest, owe to the civil magistrate; whether he is emperor, king, proconsul, president, or other state officer; and here he shows them their duty to each other: but this is extensively different from that which they owe to the civil government: to the magistrate they owe subjection, reverence, obedience, and tribute; to all others they owe nothing but mutual love. Therefore, the apostle says, Owe no man; as if he might had said: You owe to your fellow brethren nothing but mutual love, and this is what the law of God requires, and in this the law is fulfilled. You are not bound in obedience to them as you are to the civil magistrate; for to him you must submit, not merely for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake: but to these you are bound by love; and by that love you are prevented from doing any thing by which a brother may sustain any kind of injury.



9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

For this,
The little word “This” refers to the sum of the laws, which is to regulate our conduct towards our neighbor. This law of love would prompt us to seek our neighbor’s good; it would prompt us to be active and faithful in the discharge of all the duties we owe to him.

Another way to state this verse may help our understanding: "For the [commandments], Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and whatever other commandment [there may be], it is summed up in the phrase, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Here the apostle refers only to the second table of the law, seeing that love for our neighbor is what he is dealing with.

The previous verse (8) states that “he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Now, to prove that love is the fulfilling of the law, he gives us a list of particular directives or Laws. He specifies the last five of the ten commandments, which he declares to be all summed up in this royal law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, He that loves his neighbour as himself will be as desirous of the welfare of his neighbor’s body, possessions, and good name, as he is of his own. From this is developed that golden rule of doing unto others as we would want to be treated by them. If it were true that there are no restraints found within human laws to cover these things—adultery, murder, stealing, slander, and coveting—and it follows that there would not be any punishments incurred (which the corruption of human nature has made necessary), the law of love, by itself would of itself be sufficient to prevent all such wrongs and injuries, and to keep peace and harmony among us. It should be pointed out that the apostle puts the seventh commandment; Thou shalt not commit adultery, before the sixth, to indicate that it is really as great a violation of God’s Laws as killing and stealing is. A person that tempts others to sin, and defiles their minds and consciences, although he may pretend to have the most passionate love [3](Prov. 7:15, 18 ), does really hate them, just as the devil does, who wars against the soul.

Thou shalt not commit adultery,
The apostle singles out those commandments which forbid acts of unlove against one’s neighbor. They are the commandments against adultery, murder, theft, perjury, and coveting.
1. Love doesn’t exploit another person’s body; immorality does.
2. Love doesn’t take another person’s life; murder does.
3. Love doesn’t steal another person’s property; theft does.
4. Love doesn’t deny justice to others; false witness does. 
5. Love doesn’t even entertain wrong desires for another person’s possessions; coveting does.

These five are the last five (the second table) of the Commandments; they relate to our duty to man. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40). Mark’s account adds the phrase, “and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). This means that man’s first obligation is to love God with the totality of his being. The heart speaks of the emotional nature, the soul of the ability to make choices (the will), the mind of the intellectual nature, and strength of the physical nature. Then Jesus added that man’s second responsibility is to love his neighbor as himself. Barnes says, “Love to God and man comprehends the whole of religion: and to produce this has been the design of Moses, the prophets, the Savior, and the apostles.” We should frequently ponder the words, “love your neighbor as yourself.” We should think of how very much we do love ourselves, of how much of our activity centers on the care and comfort of self. Then we should try to imagine what it would be like if we showered that love on our neighbors. Then we should do it. Such behavior is not natural; it is supernatural. Only those who have been born again can do it, and then only by allowing Christ to do it through them.

He that loves another will not deprive him of his wife, of his life, of his property, of his good name; and will not even permit a desire to enter into his heart which would lead him to wish to possess any thing that is the property of another.
The command to honor our parents he has omitted. The reason might have been, that it was not his purpose when addressing love for a neighbor—a word which does not immediately suggest the idea of near relatives.

Thou shalt not kill,
If you love your neighbor, you will not kill him. Jesus took this commandment to a higher level when He said that it was a sin to hate a fellow being. So it is not necessary to actually harm someone; this command can be broken by harboring hateful thoughts toward another.

Thou shalt not steal,
A person will not steal from someone he loves.

Thou shalt not bear false witness,
“Thou shalt not bear false witness," has been omitted in all the most ancient manuscripts. It has been added, because it fits in with the other commandments mentioned; you will not lie about those you love.

Thou shalt not covet;
This command is a kind of catch-all, because when anyone deeply desires what another person has, he has committed a sin that may lead to murder, hatred, stealing and adultery.

and if there be any other commandment,
Paul could have mentioned one other: “Honor your father and your mother.” However, it was omitted, and the reason may be that the commandments included are all statements of things that we should not do, but the command to honor our parents is different; it doesn’t restrict our activities. Instead, it encourages us to do something, and then there is the promise of a long life if we do indeed honor our parents; “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
It is summed up in this saying, word, or command.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The apostle has given five commands meant to regulate our behavior toward our fellow man; but now he says that they all boil down to the same saying: Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat him with the same affection, consideration, and kindness that you treat yourself.

The Mosaic Law is viewed here as expressing the general principle of right and wrong. The commandments mentioned are given as specimens of the whole Law. He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled all the commandments contained therein, and has carried out in action the whole principle of law. Paul and James express the same thing concerning the Law, but in different ways (see [4]James 2:9–11). The former says that in keeping the one commandment we are keeping them all, the latter says that in breaking one we break them all. Each therefore stresses the unity of the Law. James argues that the unity of the Law is the outcome of the oneness of the Lawgiver, being the expression of a single will: “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”  (James 4:12).

There is an apparent difference between the Lord’s treatment of the subject and how the apostle deals with it here, since Christ declares that the whole Law and the prophets hang upon both love for God and love for one’s neighbor. Here, as in [5]Galatians 5:14, the apostle sums it all up in love for one’s neighbor. There is no real distinction, however, for love for God finds its expression in love for one’s neighbor. Moreover, Christ was answering a question as to the right interpretation of the Law, whereas the apostle is dealing with the responsibilities of believers toward all men.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. This is found in [6]Leviticus 19:18  and [7]Matthew 19:19. If this command were fulfilled, it would prevent all fraud, injustice, oppression, falsehood, adultery, murder, theft, and covetousness. It is the same as our Savior’s golden rule. And if every man would do to others as he would wish them to do to him, all the intentions of the law would be fulfilled at once.

This verse is evidently a confirmation of the declaration at the close of the preceding one, that love includes all our social duties. This is further confirmed in the following verse.



10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:
Love never seeks to harm another. Rather, it actively seeks the welfare and honor of all. This verse runs parallel to verse 8, but there is a difference, because it puts the first part negatively. Love is personified, as in 1 Corinthians 13, and love encourages us to do good to others; it likewise keeps us from doing them harm.

A person that loves another will act kindly and with charity towards that person, but if for some reason the circumstances become reversed, he would want his neighbor to act in the same way towards him; therefore, this love can never act unpleasantly towards another.

It is easy and natural for anyone to love their spouse, children, and parents, but today it is difficult to love a stranger, or even to love a neighbor. I can say along with most people that I know very little about the people who live in my neighborhood. Relationships complicate our lives and take away time that we want to spend on our hobbies. Brotherly love is certainly a scarce commodity today. A general rule concerning the nature of brotherly love is this: “Love worketh no ill—he that walks in love, that is actuated and governed by a principle of love, worketh no ill; he neither practices nor contrives any ill (hard times, poor health, unpleasantness) to his neighbor, or to any one that he has anything to do with.” Planning to do evil is in effect the same as performing it. Hence devising iniquity is called working evil upon the bed: “Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand”  (Micah 2:1). Love intends and plans for no ill to come to anybody, and it is utterly against doing anything to someone that may produce prejudice, offend them, or create grief. It worketh no ill; that is, it prohibits cruel actions toward another: more is implied than is expressed; it not only worketh no ill, but it worketh all the good that may be, devised. For it is a sin not only to concoct evil against your neighbor, but also to withhold good from those to whom it is due; both are forbidden together, [8]Prov. 3:27-29.

If this law were engraved on every man's heart, and practiced in every man’s life, what a change it would immediately produce in society. If all men would at once abandon that which is intended to work ill to others, what an influence it would have on the business and commercial affairs of men. How many plans of fraud and dishonesty would it stop at once! How many schemes would it crush! It would silence the voice of the slanderer; it would stay the plans of the seducer and the adulterer; it would put an end to cheating, and fraud, and all schemes of dishonest gain. The gambler desires the property of his neighbor without any compensation, and then treats him cruelly. The dealer in lotteries desires property for which he has never toiled, and which must be obtained at the expense and loss of others. And there are many occupations whose tendency is to treat a neighbor badly. This is pre-eminently true of the traffic in beer, wine and whiskey. It cannot do a neighbor any good, and the almost uniform result is to deprive him of his property, health, reputation, peace, and domestic comfort. He that sells his neighbor alcoholic beverages, knowing full-well what the result may be, is not pursuing a business which works no harm to him; and love for that neighbor would prompt him to abandon his employment. "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that putteth thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness." (Habakkuk 2:15).

Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Love does not work toward harming his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. That is, just as love delights in the happiness of its object, it effectively prevents us from injuring those we love, and, consequently, leads us to fulfill all the law requires, because the law requires nothing which is not conducive to the best interests of our fellow men. He, therefore, who loves his neighbor with the same sincerity that he loves himself, and consequently treats him as he would wish, under similar circumstances, to be treated by him, will fulfill all that the law commands; hence the whole law is contained and understood in this one command, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Because love does not harm others, it is therefore the fulfilling of the law: implying that all that the law requires is for us to love others. In other words, love meets the requirements of the law. The law of God in regard to our duty to our neighbor requires us to be just in our treatment of him, and if men truly loved others, all the demands of the law would be satisfied.
Love is a living active principle of obedience to the whole law. The whole law is written in the heart, if the law of love is there. Therefore the man who acts in love is really fulfilling the requirements of the second table of the law. Love, from its very nature, delights to please its objects; its very existence provides security against our willfully injuring him.

Next, we are given some general motives for the faithful discharge of all these duties.

Part 2: Subjection to the timetable of God. 13:11–14. The rest of the chapter encourages a life of spiritual alertness and moral purity. The time is short. The Dispensation of Grace is drawing to a close. The lateness of the hour demands that all lethargy and inactivity be put away. Our salvation is nearer than ever. We are taught here a lesson of sobriety and godliness in ourselves. Our main care must be to look after ourselves. We are taught four things here, as a Christian’s directory for his day’s work: when to awake, how to dress ourselves, how to walk, and what provision to make.
The Savior is coming to take us to the Father’s house. Christian citizens live in the light of the Lord’s return. Paul admonishes, “Wake up—dress up—clean up—look up!” Are you heeding it?



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.

Dr. Taylor has given a sensible paraphrase of this and the following verses: "And all the duties of a virtuous and holy life we should the more carefully and zealously perform, considering the nature and shortness of the present season of life; which will convince us that it is now high time to rouse and shake off sleep, and apply with vigilance and vigor to the duties of our Christian life; for that eternal salvation, which is the object of our Christian faith and hope, and the great motive of our religion, is every day nearer to us than when we first entered into the profession of Christianity." Some think the passage should be understood thus: “We have now many advantages which we did not formerly possess. Salvation is nearer—the whole Christian system is more fully explained, and the knowledge of it more easy to be acquired than formerly; on which account a greater progress in religious knowledge and in practical piety is required of us: and we have for a long time been too remiss in these respects.”  Deliverance from the persecutions, etc., with which they were then afflicted, is supposed by others to be the meaning of the apostle.

And that, knowing the time,
The word "that" in this place, is connected in significance with the word "this" in Romans 13:9. The meaning may be expressed as follows: All the requirements of the law towards our neighbor may be met by two things: one is Romans 13:9, 10 by love; the other is Romans 13:11-14 by remembering that we are near to entering into eternity; therefore, we should keep a deep sense of this truth before our mind, being fully aware of the significance of the present time. This will bring about a life of honesty, truth, and peace, and contentment (Romans 13:13). The doctrine in these verses, Romans 13:11-14, will bring about that deep conviction of the nearness of eternity, and will prompt us to live an upright life in our interaction with others.

Consider what time of day it is with us and you will see it is high time to wake up. It is gospel time—a period of light and truth, it is the accepted time, it is working time— it is the proper time to arouse ourselves from our slumbers, and, shaking off all slothfulness, to address ourselves earnestly to work; it is a time when more is expected from us than was in the times that ignorance and darkness, oppression, and falsehood, and sin abounded—when people sat in darkness. It is the time when you are particularly called on to lead holy lives, and to treat everyone justly; a time when God had made known to men his will that they should be pure.

that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:
That now” in this place denotes “already”; that is, there must be no delay, no neglect in the matter of the command to love one another. This word goes with “to awake.” We must awake from carelessness and indifference, and we must do it now. Now it is high time to awake, to awake out of the sleep of sin (for a sinful condition is a sleeping condition), out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth and negligence, out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness; both the wise and foolish virgins slumbered and slept: “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25). We need to be excited often and stirred up until we are awake. The word of command to all Christ’s disciples is, Watch. "Awake—be concerned about your souls and your eternal interest; take heed of sin, be ready to, and serious in, that which is good, and live in a constant expectation of the coming of our Lord.”

The phrase “out of sleep,” in this place, is used for spiritual lethargy. In the five other places where it is found, it is used for natural sleep. In [9]1 Thessalonians 5:6, where the verb katheudō is used, believers are warned against falling into soul slumber; here they are exhorted to awake out of it. This is the only kind of sleep of the soul referred to in Scripture. (See [10]Matthew 24:42-43; [11]Ephesians 5:14). It is time for believers to stand up and be counted and to make a mark for God. By nature, men are active only in deeds of wickedness. In regard to religion they are insensitive, and the slumbers of night are on their eyelids. Sleep is "the kinsman of death," and it is the emblem of the insensibility and stupidity of sinners. The deeper the ignorance and sin, the greater is this insensibility to spiritual things: and to the duties which we owe to God and man.

The world has been sunk in the night of heathenism and sin. At that time it was to be expected that they would sleep the sleep of spiritual death. But now the morning light of the gospel dawns. The Sun of righteousness has arisen. It is time, therefore, for men to cast off the deeds of darkness, and rise to life, and purity, and action. (See [12]Acts 17:30, 31). The same idea is beautifully presented in 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8. The meaning is, "Hitherto we have walked in darkness and in sin. Now we walk in the light of the gospel. We know our duty. We are sure that the God of light is around us, and is a witness of all we do. We are going soon to meet him, and it becomes us to rouse, and to do those deeds, and those only, which will bear the bright shining of the light of truth, and the scrutiny of him who is 'light, and in whom is no darkness at all,'"

for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
This is the reason why it is time to be up and active, salvation is at hand. There are three leading interpretations of this clause.
I. The first is that it means that the time of salvation, or special favor to the Gentiles, and of the destruction of the Jews, was fast approaching, according to Hammond, Whitby, and many others. But there is no foundation for this interpretation in the simple meaning of the words, nor in the context. Paul evidently refers to something of more general and permanent interest than the overthrow of the Jewish nation, and the consequent freedom of the Gentile converts from their persecutions. The night that was far spent, was not the night of sorrow arising from Jewish bigotry; and the day that was at hand was something brighter and better than deliverance from its power.
II. A second interpretation very generally received of late is, that the reference is to the second advent of Christ. It is assumed that the early Christians, and even the inspired apostles, were under the constant impression that Christ was to appear in person for the establishment of his kingdom, before that generation passed away. This assumption is founded on such passages as the following: Philippians 4:5, “The Lord is at hand;” 1 Thessalonians 4:17, “We that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air;” 1 Corinthians 15:51, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” etc. With regard to this point, we may remark —
1. That neither the early Christians nor the apostles knew when the second advent of Christ was to take place. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, nor the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:36, 37). “They (the apostles) asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:6, 7). “But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you, for ye yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2).
2. Though they did not know when it was to be, they knew that it was not to happen immediately, not until a great apostasy had occurred. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by (or concerning) the coming of the Lord Jesus, and our gathering together to him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind... as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed…” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). “Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:5). Besides this distinct assertion, that the second advent of Christ was not to occur before the revelation of the man of sin, there are several other predictions in the writings of Paul, which necessarily imply his knowledge of the fact, that the day of judgment was not immediately at hand. (
[13] Timothy 4:1-3; [14]Romans 11:25). The numerous prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the future conversion of the Jews, and various other events, were known to the apostles and prohibited the possibility of their believing that the world was to come to an end before those prophecies were fulfilled.
3. We are not to understand the expressions, day of the Lord, the appearing of Christ, the coming of the Son of man, in all cases in the same way. The day of the Lord is a very familiar expression in the Scriptures to designate any time of the special manifestation of the divine presence, either for judgment or mercy; see Ezekiel 13:5; Joel 1:15; Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9. So also God or Christ is said to come to any person or place, when he makes any remarkable exhibition of his power or grace. Hence the Son of man was to come for the destruction of Jerusalem, before the people of that generation all perished; and the summons of death is sometimes represented as the coming of Christ to judge the soul. What is the meaning of such expressions must be determined by the context, in each particular case.
4. It cannot, therefore, be inferred from such declarations as “the day of the Lord is at hand;” “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh;” “the judge is at the door,” etc., that those who made them thought that the second advent and final judgment were to take place immediately. They expressly assert the contrary, as has just been shown.
5. The situation of the early Christians was, in this respect, similar to ours. They believed that Christ was to appear the second time without sin unto salvation; but when this advent was to take place, they did not know. They looked and longed for the appearing of the great God their Savior, as we do now; and the prospect of this event operated upon them as it should do upon us, as a constant motive for watchfulness and diligence, that we may be found by him to be at peace.
There is nothing, therefore, in the Scriptures, nor in this immediate context, which requires us to presume that Paul intended to say that the time of the Second Advent was at hand, when he tells his readers that their salvation was nearer than when they believed.

The third and most common, as well as the most natural interpretation of this passage is, that Paul meant simply to remind them that the time of deliverance was near; that the difficulties and sins with which they had to contend, would soon be dispersed like the shades and mists of night before the rising sun. The salvation, therefore, that he intended here, is the achievement of the work of Christ in their deliverance from this present evil world, and introduction into the purity and blessedness of heaven. Eternity is merely at hand, is the solemn consideration that Paul urges on his readers as a motive for devotion and diligence, and to keep believers always in the attitude of wakeful expectancy, but without reference to the chronological nearness of that event.

The apostles were always consistent in their instruction concerning the Lord’s return as an event to be regarded as imminent. The exhortations they gave were designed for the saints throughout the present era. To wait for the Son of God from heaven not only was the actual attitude of the church of the Thessalonians, their example was to be followed by all believers in each generation till the event takes place.

Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed—than when we began to believed, and professed faith in Christ. The eternal happiness we chose for our portion is now nearer to us than it was when we became Christians. That was certainly true of them, and is true of every believer now. Some, me included, believe that Paul referred to the speedy second coming of the Lord. He did not know the time of that event, nor did any man ([15]Matthew 24:36), but it might be that he shared the hope of the early, suffering church, that it would be speedy. (See [16]1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2; [17]2 Thessalonians 2:1).



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.

The present age is like a night of sin that has just about run its course. The day of eternal glory is about to dawn for believers. This means that we should cast off all the filthy garments of worldliness—that is, everything associated with unrighteousness and evil. And we should put on the armor of light, which means the protective covering of a holy life. The pieces of armor are detailed in [18]Ephesians 6:14–18 . They describe the elements of true Christian character.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand:
This represents in another form what has been said in the latter part of verse 11, and continues the metaphor of the first part of that verse. “The night” signifies the whole period of man’s alienation from God; “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness…For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:5, 7). The verb rendered [19]“is far spent,” does not refer to the first Advent, but to the Second Coming of our Lord.  “The day” is “the day of Christ,” to be introduced when the Lord comes to receive His saints to Himself.

The word night, in the New Testament, is used to denote night literally: (Matthew 2:14) “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:” the starry heavens, (Revelation 8:12) “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise:” and then it denotes a state of ignorance and crime, and is synonymous with the word darkness, as such deeds are committed commonly in the night, (1 Thessalonians 5:5), “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” In this place it seems to denote our present imperfect and obscure condition in this world as contrasted with the pure light of heaven. The night, the time of comparative security and sin in which we live even under the gospel, is far gone in relation to us, and the pure splendors of heaven are at hand.

The day, in this place, represents the full splendors and glory of redemption in heaven. Therefore, heaven is often represented as a place of pure and splendid day [20](Revelation 21:23, 25, 22:5). The times of the gospel are represented as times of light, [21](Isaiah 60:1, 2, 19, and 20), but the reference here seems to be rather to the still brighter glory and splendor of heaven, as the place of pure, unclouded, and eternal day.
“The day is at hand,” meaning it is near; or is drawing near. This is true with regard to all Christians. The day is near, or the time when they shall be admitted to heaven is not distant. This is the uniform explanation of the New Testament:
• (Hebrews 10:25) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Then we should continue to meet together and not desert the local fellowship, as some do. This may be considered as a general exhortation for all believers to be faithful in their church attendance. Without question we find strength, comfort, nourishment, and joy in collective worship and service.
• (1 Peter 4:7) “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” This has been taken to mean either (1) the destruction of Jerusalem, (2) the Rapture, (3) the return of Christ to reign, or (4) the destruction of the heavens and the earth at the end of the Millennium. We think it probably refers to the last of these. The first admonition is to be serious and watchful in your prayers. This was written in a time of persecution and means that the believer’s prayer life should be free from the distractions of panic and emotional instability brought on by stress: his fellowship with God should be undisturbed by discordant circumstances.
 (James 5:8) “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” The wrongs of earth will be made right when the Lord returns. Therefore His people should be patient, like the farmer. Their hearts should be established with the certainty of His coming.
• (Revelation 22:20) “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” This verse closes Revelation with a promise and a blessing. The promise is that the Lord Jesus is coming quickly. This could mean soon or suddenly. The hope of a sudden return would not excite the same anticipation or watchfulness as the hope of a soon return. Every redeemed person responds to the blessed hope, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
• (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6) “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” The Day of the Lord will be a time of wrath for the unsaved world. But what will it mean to us? The answer is that we are not in danger because we are not in darkness. This Day will come as a thief in the night. The only way it will overtake anyone is as a thief, and the only persons it will overtake will be those who are in the night, that is, the unconverted. It will not overtake believers at all, because they are not in darkness.
• (Philippians 4:5) “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Now Paul urges them to let their gentleness be known to all men. This has also been translated yieldedness, sweet reasonableness, and willingness to give up one’s own way. The difficulty does not lie in understanding what is meant, but in obeying the precept “to all men.” The Lord is at hand may mean that the Lord is now present, or that the Lord’s coming is near. Both are true, though we favor the latter view.

That the apostle did not mean, however, that the end of the world was near, or that the day of judgment would come soon, is clear from his own explanations—See 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 (shown above)and 2 Thessalonians 2.

let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

To hate one’s brother is to walk in darkness—“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now…But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9, 11). If one professes to be a Christian and yet hates those who are truly Christians, it is a sure sign that such a one is in darkness at that time in his life. This expression “because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” shows that it is not a case of backsliding that is under consideration. The man continues to be what he always was, namely, unsaved. Furthermore, for anyone with such a condition fellowship with God is incompatible—“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). Now it follows that in order for a person to be in fellowship with God, there can be no hiding of sin. Light and darkness cannot exist in a person’s life at the same time, any more than they can exist together in the room of a home. If a man is walking in darkness, he is not in fellowship with God. A man who says he has fellowship with Him and habitually walks in darkness was never saved at all. Again, the believer is to have “no fellowship with darkness:”
• “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). A Christian should not go into a business partnership with one who does not know the Lord. Also, this verse applies clearly to secret orders or fraternities: How could one who is faithful to Christ consistently go on in an association where the name of the Lord Jesus is unwelcome? Its application to social life would be as follows: A Christian should maintain contact with the unsaved in an effort to win them to Christ, but he should never engage in their sinful pleasures or in any of their activities in such a way as to lead them to think he is no different than they. Then this section would also apply to religious matters: A faithful follower of Christ would not want to hold membership in a church where unbelievers were knowingly admitted as members.
 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Believers should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, either by participation or by any attitude that might indicate tolerance or leniency. These works of darkness are unfruitful as far as God and men are concerned. It was this feature of utter barrenness that once prompted Paul to ask the Roman Christians, “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?” (Rom. 6:21). Then too they are works of darkness: they belong to the world of dim lights, drawn drapes, locked doors, and secret rooms. They reflect man’s natural preference for darkness and his abhorrence of light when his deeds are evil—“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”  (John 3:19). Jesus is the light who came into the world. He was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. He died for the sins of the entire world. But do men love Him for this? No—they resent Him. They prefer their sins to having Jesus as Savior, and so they reject Him. Just as some creeping things scurry away from the light, so wicked men flee from the presence of Christ.

The believer is called not only to abstain from the unfruitful works of darkness, but positively he is called on to expose them. He does this in two ways: first, by a life of holiness, and second, by words of correction spoken under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

The Christian must recognize that he is engaged in warfare with the powers of darkness. It is therefore absolutely necessary that we discard the works and values of that darkness and replace them with the armor of light. A detailed description of this armor is given in [22]Ephesians 6:14–17. Our attention must be focused on how we will be clothed, how will we dress our souls? Paul’s  answer is “Put on the armor of light.” Christians are soldiers in the midst of enemies, and their life is a warfare, therefore their dress must be armor, and they may stand-up for their faith clothed in the armor of God. A Christian may think of himself as undressed if he is unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this armor, to shelter the soul from Satan’s temptations and the assaults of this present evil world. This is called the armor of light, some think alluding to the bright glittering armor which the Roman soldiers used to wear. Let us put on this armor.



13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Notice that the emphasis is on our practical Christian walk. Since we are children of the day, we should walk as sons of light. What does a Christian have to do with wild parties, drunken brawls, sex orgies, vile excesses, or even with bickering and envy? Nothing at all.

This verse is an amplification of the preceding verse, stating some of those works of darkness which we are to put off; and then, verse 14 states what is the armor of light which we are to put on. There are three classes of sins specified in this verse—intemperance, impurity, and discord.

Let us walk honestly,
Those who have received the light must walk in the light. The manner of life which spawns riotous living, drunken bouts, sexual orgies, and all forms of wanton revelry cannot be that of those who walk honestly or honorably. When a person claims to be a Christian, if he cannot change his life-style, he had better change his name.

The Greek word euschēmonōs means “becomingly,” or “decently,” which has the primary meaning of “honest.” It is used of the believer’s walk also in [23]1 Thessalonians 4:12, where it is used for conduct toward unbelievers. Here it is set in contrast to the world’s evil social conditions.

When we are up and dressed, we are not to sit still like monks and hermits. Christianity teaches us how to walk so we can please God, whose eye is upon us: “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). One of my favorite people in the Bible is Enoch and I believe Paul was probably thinking of Enoch when he wrote this verse. Notice the similarity to this verse (13): (1) Enoch walked with God (Gen. 5:24a); (2) Enoch pleased God (Heb. 11:5b); and (3) Enoch was taken up (Gen. 5:24b; Heb. 11:5a). The apostle commends the believers for their practical holiness, but urges them to advance to new levels of accomplishment. Holiness is a process, not an achievement.

as in the day;
Let us walk honestly, like one who walks in the day, that is, like those who spiritually belong to the day, when we shall be like Christ and shall see Him as He is—“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  (1 John 3:2). One day we will be like Jesus, but now we should live as if all our actions were seen and known. Men by day, or in open light, live decently; their foul and wicked deeds are done in the night. The apostle exhorts Christians to live as if all their conduct was seen and they had nothing which they wished to cover up.

not in rioting and drunkenness,
The word “rioting” or reveling is always associated with drunkenness. The exhortation shows that the sins which characterize the world, in which believers once lived, are still dangers against which we are to be on our guard, and resistance to such things can only be successful by the power of Christ.

We must abstain from participating in rioting and drunkenness, and excessive eating and drinking. Where rioting and drunkenness are present, there usually can be found chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy. Solomon puts them all together, Prov. 23:29, etc. Those that tarry long at the wine (v. 30) have contentions and wounds without cause (v. 29) and their eyes behold strange women, v. 33.

In this place the word rioting denotes the immoral conduct, the noisy and hostile hilarity, and the scenes of disorder and sensuality, which accompany luxurious living. Included in this category of sins are such things as unclean and depraved songs, banquets that become drunken festivals, such as those that were celebrated in honor of their gods, when after they had sacrificed they drank to excess, accompanied with abominable acts of every kind. Such crimes are common crimes among the heathen.

Drunkenness is something we are all familiar with, either by personal experience or from TV shows, and newspaper reporting. It ruins more families than drugs through child and spousal abuse. “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:” (1 Peter 4:3) Peter is writing to some who, before their conversion, had lived in all the moral corruption of the Gentile world. There had been enough of that kind of life! As Christians, they were new creatures, and the old sins should be abandoned. The remaining years of life belonged to God and should be given to Him.

not in chambering and wantonness,
Downright adultery and fornication are the chambering forbidden. Erotic, sensual thoughts and affections, wanton looks, words, books, gestures, dances, flirtations, which lead to uncleanness, are some of activities and attitudes that make-up the wantonness forbidden here, and by the seventh commandment.

These were common crimes among the heathen. It is not possible, nor would it be proper, to describe the scenes of immoral indulgence of which all pagans are guilty. Since Christians were to be a peculiar people, the apostle instructs them on purity and holiness of life—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Had the Corinthian Christians forgotten that people whose lives are characteristically unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? If they have forgotten, then he will remind them with this list of sinners who will have no part in God’s kingdom. He does not mean to imply that Christians can practice such sins and be lost, but rather he is saying that people who practice such sins are not Christians. 

Homosexuals here means those who allow their bodies to be used in a perverted way, while sodomites are those who practice sodomy on others.

To the list are added thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. Thieves are those who take what does not belong to them. Notice that the sin of covetousness is always listed among the most wicked vices. Though men might excuse it and think lightly of it, God condemns it vigorously. A covetous man is one with an excessive desire for possessions that often drives him to use unjust means of acquiring the same. Drunkards, as has been said, are primarily those who are addicted to the use of alcohol. Revilers are those who use abusive speech against others. Extortioners are those who take advantage of others’ poverty to secure exorbitant gain.

not in strife and envying.
These are also works of darkness; for, though the acts and instances of strife and envy are very common, nevertheless no one is willing to acknowledge that they are envious and contentious. Would anyone presume that this mandate is directed to the Christians at Rome? That they are charged with practices that are almost always peculiar to the heathens; practices of the most degenerate sort? If those called Christians at Rome were guilty of such acts, there could be no difference between them and the heathens except in their profession of faith in Jesus. But it is impossible that such things would be charged against the followers of Christ; for the very grace that brings repentance enables the penitent to cast aside and hate all such vicious and abominable conduct.

This passage is referred to by the great Augustine as the cause of his conversion. It rebuked his own sins, which were the common sins of his time.


14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
The best policy we can follow is, first of all, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. This means that we should adopt His whole lifestyle, live as He lived, and accept Him as our Guide and Example.

This stands in opposition to a great many vile lusts mentioned in verse 13. Rioting and drunkenness must be cast off: one would think that this instruction should be followed with these  positive stipulations; “Put on sobriety, temperance, and chastity.” But instead, Paul asserts, "Put on Christ”, which includes all of the following:
1) Put on the righteousness of Christ for justification; be found in him—“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9)—as a man who is found in his clothes. Paul had abandoned everything that was part of his old life in order to be found in Christ. The moment he believed on the Lord Jesus, he stood in a new position before God. No longer was he seen as a child of sinful Adam, but now he was seen in Christ, enjoying all the favor which the Lord Jesus enjoys before God the Father.
2) Put on the priestly garments of the elder brother, that in them you may obtain the blessing.
3) Put on the spirit and grace of Christ for sanctification.
4) Put on the new man“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). They had put on the new man once and for all. The new man is what a believer is in Christ. It is the new creation, in which old things have passed away and all things have become new [24](2 Corinthians 5:17). This new kind of man is recreated in God’s likeness. And this new man manifests himself in true righteousness and holiness. Righteousness means right conduct toward others. Holiness is piety towards God, which puts Him in His place.
5) Put on the grace which comes daily from Jesus Christ, for it not only saves; it also sustains.
6) Jesus Christ is the best clothing for Christians to adorn themselves with, to arm themselves with; it is decent, distinguishing, dignifying, and defending.
7) Without Christ, we are naked and deformed; all other things are filthy rages, fig-leaves are a sorry shelter. God has provided us with coats of skins—large, strong, warm, and durable.
8) By baptism we have with our profession put on Christ—“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).  Let us do it in truth and sincerity. Put him on as Lord to rule you, as Jesus to save you, and in both instances as Christ, anointed and appointed by the Father to this saving work.

To put on Christ means to enter into fellowship with him. Those who are in fellowship with Christ cannot fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The believer should understand this and that the true meaning of the union with Christ into which he entered when he put on Christ is that Christ becomes the element in which he lives, the moral raiment which displays His character.

When they had “put on the new man” they had in fact been baptized into Christ and had “put on Christ.” Putting on Christ means to allow Him to envelop us so that when others view us they see His righteousness. Therefore, He not only lives in us and through us, but on us as well. When that is the case, we no longer need to take thought of satisfying our bodily lusts or carnal desires, but our prime concern will be to live to honor the Lord. When Christ is on us and in us, we will not feed our fleshly desires but will feed a soul striving to be more like Him.

and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
We should make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. The flesh here is the old, corrupt nature. It incessantly calls out to be pampered with comfort, luxury, illicit sexual indulgence, empty amusements, worldly pleasures, wickedness, materialism, etc.

We make provision for the flesh when we buy things that are associated with temptation, when we make it easy for ourselves to sin, when we give a higher priority to the physical than to the spiritual. We should not indulge the flesh even a little. Rather, we should “give no chances to the flesh to have its fling.”

The word “provision,” is, literally, forethought, hence we may change it to “take no forethought.” Expressed as it is here it suggests the self-will with which sin is premeditated. The flesh, here means, the seat of sin in man.

"Make not provision for the flesh.” But, what about the body?  Our great care must be to provide for our souls; but do we need to take care of our bodies? Shouldn’t we provide for them, when they need it? Yes, but two things are forbidden here:
1) Perplexing ourselves with an inordinate care, intimated in these words, pronoian meµ poieisthe. "Be not solicitous in forecasting for the body; do not stretch your wits, nor set your thoughts upon the tenter-hooks, in making this provision; be not careful and cumbered about it; do not take thought,”  Matthew 6:31. It forbids an anxious care, which becomes a burden.
2) Indulging ourselves in an improper desire. We are not forbidden to provide for the body (it is a lamp that must be supplied with oil), but we are forbidden to fulfill the lusts thereof. The necessities needed by the body must be considered, but the lusts of it must not be gratified. Natural desires must be answered, but wanton appetites must be checked and denied. To ask for our necessities is a duty: we are taught to pray for our daily bread; but to ask for meat for our lusts is sinful; “And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust” (Psalm 78:18). Those who profess to walk in the spirit must not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

To fulfill the lusts thereof is a reference to those already mentioned: rioting, drunkenness, prostitutions, and uncleanness. We are not to make provision for them. The word “provision” here is that which is used to denote visionary care, or preparation for future wants. It means that we should not make it our purpose to gratify our lusts, or to do this by laying up anything beforehand with reference to this object.

The gratification of the flesh was the main object among the Romans. Living in luxury and decadence, was their great object in life. In respect to this, Christians were to be a separate people, and to show that they were influenced by a higher and purer desire than this inclination to attend to sensual gratification. It is right; it is a Christian duty, to labor to make provision for all the real wants of life. But the real wants are few; and, with a heart disposed to be pure and peaceable, the necessary wants of life are easily satisfied, and the mind may be devoted to higher and purer purposes.

These last verses have been famous in the Christian Church for more than 1400 years, because tradition says it is the instrument of the conversion of St. Augustine. It is well known that this man was at first a Manichean, in which doctrine he continued till the 32nd year of his age. He had frequent conferences and controversies on the Christian religion with several friends who were Christians; and with his mother Monica, who was incessant in her prayers and tears for his conversion. She was greatly comforted by the assurance given her by St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, where her son Augustine was then professor of rhetoric: that a child of so many prayers and fears could not perish. He frequently heard St. Ambrose preach, and was affected, not only by his eloquence, but by the important subjects which he discussed; but still could not abandon his Manicheanism. Walking one day in a garden with his friend Alypius, who it appears had been reading a copy of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, and had left it on a bank near which they then were, (though some say that Augustine was then alone), he thought he heard a musical voice calling out distinctly, TOLLE ET LEGE! TOLLE ET LEGE! take up and read! take up and read! He looked down, saw the book, took it up, and hastily opening it, the first words that met his eye were these—Μη κωμοις και μεθαις, etc., Not in rioting and drunkenness, etc., but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. He felt the importance and power of the words, and immediately resolved to become a follower of Christ: he instantly embraced Christianity; and afterwards boldly professed and wrote largely in its defense, and became one of the most eminent of all the Latin fathers. Such is the substance of the story handed down to us from antiquity concerning the conversion of St. Augustine. He was made bishop of Hippo in Africa, in the year 395, and died in that city, Aug. 28th, 430, at the very time that it was besieged by the Vandals.

 _________________notes__________________________[1](Ephesians 1:1) “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:” Saints are sinners saved by the grace of God, separated from sin, and set apart for God. They are not sinless, have not attained to certain heights of sanctity, and do not belong to some special religious group.
[2](Mark 8:38) “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Soon our Lord is coming back to earth, this time not in humiliation, but in His own personal glory and in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels.
[3](Proverbs 7:15,18) Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee… Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. 
[4](James 2:9-11) “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” To break one part of the law is to be guilty of all. The law is like a chain of ten links. Break one link and the chain is broken. God does not allow us to keep the laws we like, and break others. 
[5](Galatians 5:14) “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” At first, it seems strange that Paul should introduce the law here after emphasizing all through the Epistle that believers are not under it. He is not urging his readers to go back to the law; he is showing that what the law demanded but could not produce is the very thing that results from the exercise of Christian liberty. 
[6](Leviticus 19:18) Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. 
[7](Matthew 19:19) Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
[8](Proverbs 3:27-29) “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. Divise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.” First, never withhold anything good from those to whom it is due when you are in a position to give it. This might refer to wages that have been earned, to a debt that is due, to tools that have been borrowed. But in a wider sense it may mean, “Never withhold a kindness or a good deed from someone who is entitled to it.” This injunction may be introduced here to warn the righteous against becoming so occupied with their proper relationship with God as to neglect their responsibility towards others (see Jas. 4:17).
[9](1 Thessalonians 5:6) “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” The call is for believers to live a life that is consistent with their exalted position. This means watchfulness and sobriety. We are to watch against temptation, laziness, lethargy, and distraction. Positively, we should watch for the Savior’s return. Sobriety here means not only being sober in conversation and in general demeanor but being temperate as far as food and drink are concerned. 
[10](Matthew 24:42-43) “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” In view of the uncertainty as to the day and the hour, men ought to watch. If someone knows his house is going to be broken into, he will be ready, even if he doesn’t know the exact time. The Son of Man will come when least expected by the masses. Therefore, His people should be on the tiptoes of expectancy.
[11](Ephesians 5:14) “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” The life of the believer should always be preaching a sermon, should always be exposing the surrounding darkness, should always be extending this invitation to unbelievers:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

This is the voice of light speaking to those who are sleeping in darkness and lying in spiritual death. The light calls them to life and illumination. If they answer the invitation, Christ will shine on them and give them light. 
[12](Acts 17:30-31) “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Having exposed the folly of idolatry, Paul goes on to state that for many centuries God overlooked the ignorance of the Gentiles. But now that the revelation of the gospel has come, He commands all men everywhere to repent, that is, to do an about-face.

This is an urgent message, because God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Man whom He has ordained. The judgment referred to here will take place when Christ returns to earth to put down His enemies and begin His Millennial Reign. The positive assurance that this will take place is found in the fact that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. Thus Paul leads up to his favorite theme, the resurrection of Christ. 
[13](1 Timothy 4:1-3) “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Some will depart from the faith. The word some is characteristic of 1 Timothy. What was a minority in this Epistle seems to have become the majority in 2 Timothy. The fact that these people depart or fall away from the faith does not mean that they were ever saved, but simply that they had professed to be Christians. They knew about the Lord Jesus Christ and had been told that He was the only Savior. They professed for a time to follow Him, but then they apostatized from the faith. 
[14](Romans 11:25) “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Now the apostle reveals that the future restoration of Israel is not only a possibility but is an assured fact. What Paul now reveals is a mystery—a truth hitherto unknown, a truth that could not be known by man’s unaided intellect, but a truth that has now been made known. Paul sets it forth so that Gentile believers will not be wise in their own opinion, looking down their nationalistic noses at the Jews. This mystery is as follows: Blindness in part has happened to Israel. It has not affected all the nation, but only the unbelieving segment. 
[15](Matthew 24:36) “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” This should warn against the temptation to set dates or to believe those who do. We are not surprised that angels do not know; they are finite creatures with limited knowledge. 
[16](1 Thessalonians 5:1-2) “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
[17](2 Thessalonians 2:1) “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” Paul now undertakes to correct a misunderstanding that had arisen in the minds of the saints concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Day of the Lord. The saints were suffering such severe persecution that it was easy for them to think that they were already in the first part of the Day of the Lord, i.e., the Tribulation Period. And rumors were floating around that the apostle himself believed and taught that the Day of the Lord had arrived! So he must set the record straight. 
[18](Ephesians 6:14-18) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 
[19](is far spent) Literally, "is cut off." It is becoming short; it is hastening to a close. 
[20](Revelation 21:23, 25, 22:5) And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof…And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there…And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 
[21](Isaiah 60:1, 2, 19, and 20) Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee…The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 
[22](Ephesians 6:14–17) “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
[23](1 Thessalonians 4:12) “That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” The fact that we are Christians and are looking for Christ’s coming does not relieve us of the practical responsibilities of life. We should remember that the world is watching us. Men judge our Savior by us. We should walk properly toward unbelievers and be independent of them financially. 
[24](2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” If anyone is in Christ, that is, saved, he is a new creation. Before conversion, one might have judged others according to human standards. But now all that is changed. Old methods of judging have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

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