Romans 12:9-13 ESV
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
Love is agape love, which is God-like love, which prefers what God prefers. It is selfless, willing to lay down one’s life for another. It is moral, and it is obedient to our Lord’s commands, too. And, it does no harm to its neighbor, so it doesn’t lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, and/or murder, etc. But it speaks the truth, in love, and it is kind.
So, genuine love is truthful, not manipulative, and its actions speak louder than words, too. For, if you say you love your spouse, but then you lie to, cheat on, bully, manipulate or otherwise abuse your spouse, that is not love. And, if you say you love God, but you refuse to leave your sinful lives behind you and to submit to Christ’s Lordship, and to obey his commands, then that isn’t love, either. For, love is not what you feel, but what you do.
Love also abhors evil, because it prefers what God prefers, and it loves what he loves, and it hates what he hates. And, God hates evil, and he hates lies. So, he hates deception, manipulation, and the twisting of his gospel to make it say what is appealing to human flesh. And, he hates what those lies do to people, too, for they convince them they don’t have to repent or obey God.
Love also does not take God’s grace for granted, and it doesn’t treat God with dishonor and with disrespect. So, it is not spiritually lazy, addicted to the lusts of the flesh, craving sinful desires, not caring about others, but doing others harm.
It doesn’t live for self and self-pleasure and self-gratification. But, it honors Christ as Lord, and it walks in obedience to his commands, in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And, this love, which is of God, thus shares the gospel of our salvation with others so that they, too, can be set free from their bondage to sin and so they can walk in freedom, in holiness and purity.
Romans 12:14-18 ESV
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Who are our persecutors? They are all who are opposed to the whole counsel of God and the gospel of our salvation as taught by Jesus and by his New Testament apostles. They are those who want to dilute the gospel of our salvation to make it more acceptable to human flesh. And, so they are those who want to silence us who are speaking out the truth, too.
And, they are those who want us to deny Jesus and his gospel so that we can unite with the people of the world with one voice and with one mind. So, they are also those who are plotting a one-world religion, which they will attempt to force upon us all, or we will be persecuted for non-compliance.
But, we are not to be mean and hateful towards our persecutors and our opposition, but we are to love our enemies as God loves us, and we are to pray for them, do good to them, and say what is beneficial for them. And, what is most beneficial for them is for them to hear the truth of the gospel.
When it says here that we are to live in harmony with one another, this harmony (agreement) must never involve the compromise of truth or backing down from sharing the gospel with others in order to not offend. This unity of mind must first and foremost be with God, and then with others who are also like-minded with the Lord.
We are not to be haughty (conceited). But it is not conceited to stand for what you believe, or to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father and to heaven, or to believe that we must repent of our sins and walk in obedience to our Lord as part of our walks of faith with Jesus Christ. And, it is not judgmental or self-righteous, either, to speak the truth, in love.
Romans 12:19-21 ESV
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
If our enemies (our opponents) end up doing us harm, we are not to try to get even with them, either. Vengeance is the Lord’s and he will repay. Our job is to forgive, to help others find the truth in Jesus Christ, and to lead people to saving faith in Jesus and to eternal life with God.
So, if while we are obeying the Lord, and we are doing what he says to do, and we are saying what he would have us to say, which should be in line with his word, we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, we are to return their persecution towards us with love, not with hate.
So, we are to do good to them, but as God defines good, not as man defines good. And, we are to feed them and give them drink, if they are in need. And I believe this also includes feeding them with the word of God and presenting to them that they can have living water, i.e. the Spirit of God within them, if they will trust in the Lord and obey his commands.
But, as we minister God’s love and grace to others, especially to those who are opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must guard our hearts against evil, so that we are not overcome by it while trying to rescue them from their evil, for evil is a very powerful and hypnotic influence.
So, we must remain strong in our faith, and we must not bend (compromise) on truth and righteousness. If we are going to survive the onslaught of our enemy, which is most certainly on its way, then we need to be grounded in the Word of God and be walking according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, so that we, by the Spirit, prevail over evil, and so it does not prevail over us, because we were weak, unprepared, and we lost our footing.
So, get ready for tough days to come, for Scripture says they will come. Be prepared to be persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ if you are committed to the Lord and to following him in truth to the finish line. And, be prepared to stand your ground to the death, if need be.
Sing to Me of Heaven
Songwriters: Ada Powell / Benjamin Burke Beall
Sing to me of Heaven, sing that song of peace
From the toils that bind me it will bring release
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so
Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow
Sing to me of Heaven, as I walk alone
Dreaming of the comrades that so long have gone
In a fairer region ‘mong the angel throng
They are happy as they sing that old, sweet song
Sing to me of Heaven, tenderly and low
Till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go
When my heart is weary, when the day is long
Sing to me of Heaven, sing that old, sweet song
Sing to me of Heaven, let me fondly dream
Of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall
Sing to me of heaven, sweetest song of all
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