You would think a Christian wouldn’t need such reminders, but look at the things above. Aren’t these the most difficult things for us to do? To submit to someone else’s decisions, especially if we seriously disagree with them; to obey even when you had rather not; to be eager to serve others; to stop arguing and just accept; to be kind, even to those who do not deserve it; and to be courteous, even when people are not courteous to us—none of these things comes without effort. In fact, they usually don’t come at all, and when their opposite surfaces, we are full of excuses. He did it first; he needs to see what it feels like; if he can do it, so can I. No you can’t. Not and stay faithful to the Lord.
Did you notice that most of these things are simply a matter of submitting one’s will to another? And God always says that the reason for this is “the Lord’s sake” not the sake of the person you are submitting to, and that’s why we fail so often. We look at the wrong person and when we see that person doesn’t deserve such submission, we find excuses. You see it every day on the pages of facebook—rants about the government in words that are hardly “submissive.” Even if you do obey, the submission is not there. Let me ask you husbands, would you call a wife who rants at you in the same words you do at the President and congress “submissive?” Parents, would you accept the attitude of a child who, while he ultimately obeyed, rolled his eyes and made sarcastic remarks while he did so?
And so we have to be reminded to behave ourselves, every bit as much as a child needs that reminder, and because, like a child, we are “slaves to our passion” (v 3), especially our passion for self. We submit our desires, our opinions, and that pesky thing called “self” because when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life, v 4-7. We do not deserve our salvation any more than those people deserve our submission, service, and courtesy. Are you going to give it up just to prove a point?
No, we do not have to be reminded to do the easy things, so obviously these are difficult. We need the reminder. We need sometimes a reminder as sharp as a slap in the face. Read the prophets. They were good at that. And the New Testament writers were not far behind. I’ve been told that sometimes I’m not either.
But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder…Rom 15:15.