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.”
Let Love Be Genuine
Our love for God and for one another is to be genuine (sincere, honest), not superficial, not put on (fake), and not a performance as a cover-up for evil. It also is to prefer (choose) what God prefers (chooses), i.e. to make choices for our lives in line with his will for our lives.
Thus, we will obey our Lord in doing his will, we will treat him with honor and respect, and we will do for others what is beneficial for them, and we will not do what will cause them harm, because love does no harm to its neighbor (1 Jn 2:3-6; Rom 13:10).
So, if we love our spouses, we won’t lie to them, cheat on them, and/or plot evil against them, willfully choosing to do to them what we know is going to bring harm to them. We will honor and value them, and show them respect, and do for them what is for their good.
Abhor What is Evil
When I was teaching on holy living from Romans 12:1-2, I received this response from a reader:
“You are seeing through the eyes of the Law, which no longer applies to us for living- we live by faith in his promise. What I mean is that trying to live a ‘holy life’ is a lost cause and will only bring pride (looking down on those who live in the freedom Christ came to give us) or despair (because when we are honest we know even our ‘good works’ are but filthy rags).”
The Lord led me to this response:
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Is 5:20 KJV
“You are twisting the Scriptures. I know your message, and I know where it comes from and it isn’t from God.”
Another reader responded to the person who responded to me, and he also saw through the lie, but he only saw the lie as it being this man’s personal opinion. So, the Lord led me to respond to the second reader with this:
“What he is saying is not just his personal opinion. This is part of the message of the cheap grace gospel which many many people are disseminating. It is a lie of Satan to keep people bound in their sin while promising them heaven as their eternal destiny.
“It is directly opposed to all that is of God, calling evil good and good evil. It is an attack against Jesus, his gospel, and his messengers who are teaching the true gospel of our salvation from sin. We all need to learn their lingo, so we recognize when they are spreading this lie.”
So, we need to be those who recognize evil for what it is, and who call it what it is, for this is not a game here, and this is not a matter of just a difference of opinion. This is about liars and deceivers deceiving people by the masses, convincing them that living holy lives is evil, but that living wicked lives is good.
Hold Fast to What is Good
So, what is the good we are to hold fast to? It is obviously the opposite of evil, so it would have to do with Christ’s righteousness and holiness.
Thus, the righteousness and holiness of God is what we are to embrace, not these messages which tell us we don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord, we don’t have to obey our Lord, and we don’t have to forsake our lives of sin. That can only come from Satan!
We also need to be students of the Word of God, and we need to study it in context, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not under the guidance of humans who are twisting the Scriptures for evil purposes.
For this is war, and we need to fight our enemy with the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20). So, we need to not only learn to recognize the lies for what they are, but we need to know the truth in order to refute those lies of Satan. So, we need to use that Sword of the Spirit against those lies.
So, the truth which we are to hold on to is that Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins so we could escape hell, and just so that we could go to heaven when we die. And faith in Jesus Christ is from God and thus it submits to God, and it surrenders to the will of God in repentance and in walks of obedience to our Lord.
The truth which is in Christ Jesus, which we should have been taught, is that we are to forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, we are to be renewed (transformed) in our hearts and minds of the Spirit of God in regeneration, and we are to now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, if we want to be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. For, this is what it means to believe in Jesus Christ.
Belief in Jesus is not a one-time event which takes place in our lives which then guarantees us heaven as our eternal destiny regardless of how wicked we live while we are still on this earth. We can only claim who we are “in Christ” if that is truly who we are (see Rom 8:1-17).
For, “in Christ” has conditions to it. We must believe in Jesus and surrender to him as Lord. We must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. We must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. And we must obey the commandments of the Lord.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21]
Serve the Lord
The Christian life is not about us. And it is not about God doing everything for us humans because we are such wonderful people who he is enamored with. For Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. He died for the ungodly. All have sinned and have come up short of receiving God’s divine approval (Rom 3:23; Rom 5:8).
And Jesus didn’t die that horrible death for us on the cross to forgive us our sins so that we could then dishonor him as God, slap him in the face, stomp on his grace, live like hell, refuse to obey him, and refuse to submit to him.
Jesus died on that cross for us that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20). So, honor him as Lord!
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.