This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on September 10, 2017.
Paul’s vision for how to live like a citizen of heaven in the world of the Roman Empire blends theology and ethics. He is concerned with what Christians are to do in the world and why they are to do it. Romans 13:8-14 deals with personal conduct in such a manner.
From Paul’s perspective, the ideal Christian life leaves us with only one ongoing debt: that we love others. Paul, of course, has agape, self-giving love for the sake of the other, in mind.
Such love builds and protects genuine community, whether between God and humanity or among humans. Paul points to some of the injunctions found in the second table of the Ten Commandments as negative examples of community building agape in action. When we love one another, we do not break relationships by committing adultery, taking lives, coveting others’ possessions and the like. Instead, we consciously and vigorously treat others as we might wish them to treat us.