Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (Rm. 12:11).
Following quickly upon the heels of the apostle’s exhortation to let the love of Christians be genuine, the apostle admonishes the church at Rome to “Not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
The exhortation is one that chastises complacency in the Christian’s life. For, as the apostle intimates earlier, this life in this present age fails to compare with the Life promised to us in the age to come. More than that, this present passing age has great consequence upon our future Life, for how one conducts himself in this life dictates and declares where one’s true hope rests. For this reason, the apostle writes earlier:
To those who by patience and well-doing seek for glory, honor, and immortality [God] will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek. But glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality (Rm. 2:7-11).
Therefore, as those who have an eternal dwelling laid in store for us, our business is to be about constantly seeking for “glory, honor, and immortality” in this life. For those who have such an Inheritance make much of it in this life, and declare the greatness of their Inheritance with the way in which they live their lives. As the apostle to the Hebrews writes:
For people who speak thus [i.e. as strangers and exiles on the earth] make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Heb. 11:14-16).
In other words, the ability to please the Lord rests in how one conducts himself in this life by his faith in the coming Inheritance. And this is the way in which one fulfills the apostle’s exhortation in our present verse, namely, “Serve the Lord.” For one who would serve the Lord must be zealous. There is no room for complacency in the Lord’s service, but we must be fervent in spirit counting this present age as fleeting and Eternity with Christ as our greatest treasure. Therefore, we who are in Christ, should live in the same manner as Martin Luther said so well:
Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow.
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study