Love

The Tenth Commandment (1) You Shall Not Covet

This is an important part of the biblical teaching concerning desires. We are to desire some things more than other things. Some desirable things are more important than other desirable things. We are to desire some things with all our hearts, and we are to desire other things with less than all our hearts and there are yet other things that we are not to desire at all. How we order our desires is a moral question. The kinds of things that we prioritize in our lives is a reflection of the kind of people we are, and God is concerned with what kind of people we are.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Sixth Commandment (3) Jesus and the Sixth Commandment

Clearly Jesus is passionate about relationships between people. Clearly relationships are a priority for God. The Sixth Commandment speaks directly about murder, but it addresses us long before it comes to murder. The Six Commandment is about living at peace with all men. What Paul wrote in Romans 12:8 summarizes what Jesus is teaching in these verses, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Personal Greetings and Final Remarks

Read: Romans 16

The letter closes with a reminder of the strength that God gives to his people through the gospel. We are involved in the great struggle between God and Satan and good and evil. That great struggle is both inside of us and all around us. The good news is that God strengthens his people – he brings about the obedience of faith. The struggle is real. The struggle is hard. But God in Christ gives the strength to persevere and to overcome and he brings about the obedience of faith. That is the encouragement.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Encouragement, Harmony and Concluding Remarks

Read: Romans 15

The Christian life is profoundly corporate. We live in a time that is profoundly individualistic, but that is very much contrary to the teaching and the emphasis and the concern of the Scriptures and of the gospel. Being a believer in Jesus has an individual aspect to it that is vital, of course. We must believe as individuals and we must have a personal relationship with the Lord. But from a biblical perspective it is never just about me and Jesus. By believing in Jesus we become members of his body and that had huge implications for the nature of the Christian life.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Strong and the Weak

Read: Romans 14

This chapter deals with a very specific way of treating one other with love within the Christian community. The different opinions that are under consideration are not equally valid. One is right, and the other is wrong. Paul uses the distinction between some who are strong and others who are weak in this chapter. The opinions of the strong in this chapter of objectively correct while the opinions of the weak are objectively incorrect. But at the same time the differences of opinion are not over things that are part of core-orthodoxy or core-morality.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Our Responsibility to Government and General Exhortations

Read: Romans 13

The transformation that is the result of salvation in Christ, is from a life that is empty and self-centered to a life that is full and other-centered. The way of life that is concerned only with self is the way of death and being truly alive and joyful according to the Bible is to learn to sacrifice for God and others. Remember the opening line of this section. We are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. That is not a bad thing. That is not a punishment. It is rather what it means to be truly alive. It is life as it was meant to be lived. It is the way of joy and satisfaction. It is a huge part of what salvation means.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Importance of Community

But within this overall perspective, an important part of the answer to the problem of meaningless is our relationships with other people. The meaning of life has to do with relationships, first of all our relationship with God, but within that context, our relationships with other people. And what these verses in Ecclesiastes that we are looking give us is a spectrum ranging from vanity towards meaning – a spectrum from emptiness to fulfillment.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

“You shall have no other gods before me.” (2)

God is to fill the horizon of our lives. God demands literally everything from us. Having God as our God means that our lives are not our own. It means that no part of our lives are our own. It means that we exist for God. It means that every second of our lives and every thought that we think and every thing that we do is to be directed by love for God and directed to pleasing God. Any time that is not happening we are breaking the first commandment.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra