40 Imperatives for Believers in Romans

Below is a list of 40 commands that pertain to believers in Romans.  These commands must be obeyed.  But what compels my obedience is my love and gratitude for Christ.

  1. Reckon Yourselves to be dead indeed to sin (6.11).
  2. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts (6.12).
  3. Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin (6.13a).
  4. Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead (6.13b).
  5. Present your members as instruments of righteousness to God (6.13c).
  6. Present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness (6.19).
  7. Do not boast against the branches (Gentiles boasting against Jews) because the root supports you (11.18).
  8. Do not be haughty, but fear (11.20).
  9. Consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness (11.22).
  10. Do not be conformed to this world (12.2a).
  11. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (12.2b).
  12. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (12.14).
  13. Do not be wise in your own opinion (12.16).
  14. Give place to wrath (12.19).
  15. If your enemy is hungry, feed him (12.20a).
  16. If your enemy is thirsty, give him a drink (12.20b).
  17. Do not be overcome by evil (12.21a).
  18. Overcome evil with good (12.21b).
  19. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities (13.1).
  20. Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same (13.3).
  21. If you do evil, be afraid (13.4).
  22. Render therefore to all their due (13.7).
  23. Owe no one anything except to love one another (13.8).
  24. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (13.14).
  25. Receive one who is weak in the faith (14.1).
  26. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat (14.3).
  27. Let not him who does not eat judge him who eats (14.3).
  28. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind (14.5).
  29. Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way (14.13).
  30. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died (14.15).
  31. Do not let your good be spoken of as evil (14.16).
  32. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food (14.20).
  33. Have faith to yourself before God (14.22).
  34. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification (15.2).
  35. Receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God (15.7).
  36. Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people (15.10).
  37. Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles (15.11a).
  38. Laud Him, all you peoples (15.11b).
  39. Several commands to greet believers in Romans 16.1-16.
  40. Avoid those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned (16.17).

A Search Party You Need to Join

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance… Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:7, 10)

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12–14)

The Pharisees needed to learn that there is more joy in Heaven and in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents than over the just who need no repentance.   Jesus was not saying that the Pharisees did not need repentance, because they surely did.  He was teaching that God rejoices over those who truly repent and not over those who are hypocritical.  This could include the Pharisees and all Jewish people tempted to think that they are better than the tax collectors and the sinners.  The hypocrisy could creep into the lives of tax collectors and sinners too!

The shepherd and the woman are searching.  The passive elements of the sheep and coin provide a striking illustration that salvation is all of God.  But it must be remembered that in the final sum of things, while all of us go astray …go our own way, all of us must also repent.  Faith and repentance are my responsibility.  Grace and redemption are God’s.  This is how the Christian maintains that salvation begins with God, is all of God, and that God never relinquishes His sovereignty to man.

First, God takes the initiative to seek and save lost sinners.  Second, the salvation of the lost is a cause for great joy.  Third, those who are safe in the fold persist in seeking the lost as instruments in God’s hand.

God’s Initiative in Seeking the Lost

Our heavenly Father is concerned about the lost souls of men.  It is a no-brainer.  We must all conclude that nothing is more valuable than the eternal souls of men from God’s perspective.  He sacrificed His Son for the souls of men.  We will remain lost if the Father does not seek us.  We will not seek Him.  Our goodness is nothing apart from the Lord (Psalm 16.2).  Self-righteousness is a filthy rag before God.  Job asks, “Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous” (Job 22.3)?  That’s a great question!  The answer is absolutely not if that righteousness is self-righteousness.  We must have the gift of Christ’s righteousness!

God must seek and find the lost.  Then when He finds us, we must be washed in the blood of the Lamb.  If not, we will incur the wrath and righteous indignation of God throughout all eternity.  But “through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3.22).  That is why God never removes His hand of protection when it comes to those who are already with Him (John 6.47).  Yet He also relentlessly moves upon the hearts of living men and women to breathe life into their eternal souls too.

The woman lit a candle and searched all of the dark recesses of her home.  “It is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4.6).  The woman swept the floor of her home in order to try to find the coin in any of the debris that had collected.  God will scour the entire surface of the earth through believers willing to testify of His love.  He has empowered us by His Spirit to preach the Gospel!

Celebrating with God When the Lost are Found

The dominant theme that ties together all three parables in Luke 15 is the joy over the lost being found.  The eternal condemnation and misery of the lost finds it root in sin and rebellion.  The eternal salvation and accompanying joy of the found finds it root in grace and repentance.  This is a source of joy for God.  He sent His Son to die for the lost souls of men.  He rejoices when they are found.  His angels rejoice when they are found.  We should rejoice when they are found!  Isaiah writes of the lost of Babylon:  “Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.  They all shall speak and say to you:  ‘Have you also become as weak as we?  Have you become like us?’” (Isaiah 14.9-10)  Shall not Heaven be just as excited to meet the lost soul when it comes into the presence of God through faith Christ alone!  Hell is working; Heaven is working.  What side are you on?

Pressing On in Seeking the Lost

If we are to have the heart of God, then we must not fight against Him.  If He relentlessly seeks the lost to save, then why shall we listlessly wander among them without compassion?  We know the danger that awaits the unconverted men and women around us.  All like sheep have gone astray …all have gone their own way.  But the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53.6).  The adversary is relentless as he seeks those whom he may devour.  We must be yielded to relentlessly seek those whom God may save through us.  God will press on in seeking the lost; however, I want to be a part of His search party.  What about you?

A Godly Father’s Relationship with His Sons (Part 2)

It incenses people who play by the rules that someone would receive God’s grace after living such a wasteful life.  It really shouldn’t make moral people angry and bitter when immoral people turn to their only saving hope.  The reason that it does is that we become proud, envious, and discontented like the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.” (Luke 15:28).

The Perspective of the Older Brother

We’ve witnessed similar attitudes in Scripture.  Had Nineveh failed to turn from their evil way, God would not have relented.  He would have judged them (Jonah 3.10).  Of course, they did repent and God did relent.  You’d think a preacher would be happy about that, but not Jonah.  It displeased him a lot.  He became very angry about it (Jonah 4.1).  When Peter fellowshipped with Gentile Christians, it bothered the apostles and brethren from Judea (Acts 11.1-3).  Even the Pharisees themselves were the objects of this particular parable:

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them…” (Luke 15:1–3)

They just couldn’t stand the fact that Jesus received and ate with tax collectors and sinners.  They had a disposition which was strikingly similar to that of the older brother.  They hated the fact that sinful people were turning from their hopeless lives to Jesus Christ.

The Pharisees complained that tax collectors and sinners were turning to God through the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are Pharisees in every generation.  They hate it when sinful people repent after living sinful lives.  They are unwilling to be happy about it.  There are two important characteristics of the older brother which provide powerful lessons for us:

1.            He was angry about the father’s reception of the younger brother.

2.            He was unwilling to joyfully participate in his younger brother’s return.

Verse 28 makes it plain:  “He was angry.”  His father tenderly pleaded for his oldest son to join the feast celebrating his younger brother’s return.  But all the older son could do was remind his father of how blameless and wonderful he had been in the past.  “Why didn’t his father realize this?”  Of course, the older brother did all this because he was filled with envy.  He couldn’t be grateful for his brother’s return because of his own foolish pride.

But verse 28 goes on to say, “He was angry and would not go in.”  He was unwilling.  Nothing would move him from his hatred and rejection of his brother.  The Pharisees also were unwilling.  They simply viewed themselves as better than everyone else.  There are Pharisees in every generation.  The hardest people to win to Jesus Christ are those who are self-righteous …those who think they are above it all.  Telling someone that their works are filthy rags will not endear them to your heart.  But they need to hear it.

The Perspective of the Father

But notice how the father responds to the older son:  “Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.”

First, the father was forbearing.  He did not utter bitter invectives or become angry with his son.  The son was very disrespectful but the father was very loving.  Fathers should be this way.  Certainly our heavenly Father is.  He is very patient with prodigal and Pharisee alike.

Second, the father condescended to his son.  He went out and pleaded with him.  Lovingly, he reminded him that nothing in all those years had been withheld from him.  Whatever the father had was his.  But both sons were home, and the father implored the older brother to be grateful not bitter.  Fathers must initiate course corrections with their children in the same way.  They shouldn’t expect their immature children to meet them half-way.

Third, the father loved his son.  It is not as hard to love the prodigal son.  He came to the end of himself and humbly returned, willing to take the place of a servant.  It is much harder to love the Pharisee.  He never is tender and responsive to his father.  But the father was tender and caring nonetheless.  Would the son give up his self-righteous disposition and come in and celebrate?  Our heavenly Father’s heart churns within Him; His sympathy is stirred for the self-righteous and the licentious alike (cf. Hosea 11.8).  We should be the same.

Self-righteousness is insidious.  It creeps in with pride, envy, discontentment, and many other evils accompanying it.  It will cause religious men to justify themselves …to pray within themselves words like that of another Pharisee:  “God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector” (Luke 18.11).  Those who remain self-righteous cannot be saved.

But repentant prodigals are filled with peace and have a desire to sin no more.  They are truly grieved by the direction their lives were going.  They never want to return to the cesspool of their former lives.  Humility is the recognition that you cannot depend upon yourself but must cling to the grace and mercy of God.  All offend the Father every day.  The key is to come before Him in abject poverty, willing to take the place of a servant only to be given the privileges of a son.