Romans 12:9 ESV
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
What kind of love? The kind of love that comes from God, that is centered in moral preference, which prefers (chooses) what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, moral, honest, faithful, upright, kind, and generous, etc. So, it will do no willful or deliberate harm to another.
Let this love not be hypocritical. Don’t try to fake it. Don’t pretend that you love people while you stab them in the back when they aren’t aware of what you are doing. Don’t say “I love you” and then slander, gossip about, and/or plot evil against others. Don’t pretend love just to use other people, either.
Instead, abhor what is evil (wicked, malicious). Detest it. Hate it. Want nothing to do with evil. Live a life completely separated from all evil. Have no part in what is evil. And this includes not allowing ourselves to be entertained by evil via music, games, videos, movies, TV shows, sports, etc.
Hold fast to what is good. May it stick to you like glue. May you bond with what is good in the eyes of God, and may it become what you are and what you do. May you cleave to it and connect to it in a “soul-knit friendship” (1). May it become your character, your thinking, your believing.
And “good” is defined by God, not by humans. For, it originates with God, for only God is truly good. As well, this good is empowered by God in our lives, for we cannot be good in and of ourselves, of our own flesh, which is not good. So, this is what God says is good, which may not agree with humans.
Romans 12:10 ESV
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
When we love with “brotherly affection,” this does not mean that we cease to love with the love which comes from God, which centers in moral preference, and which prefers what God prefers. So, “brotherly affection” should never be outside the confines of “agape love.”
So, we don’t hang out with and join in with those who are engaging themselves in what is evil. We don’t compromise truth or God’s morals or godliness in order to show “brotherly affection” to others. One is not exclusive of the other. This is still the love a Christian should have for one another in the family of God.
So, if we truly care about one another with a “brotherly affection,” then what should be upmost on our minds is what is for the good (welfare, benefit) of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. So, we should learn what the Scriptures teach about how we are to show love, one to the other.
We are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as though they are members of our own natural families. And we are to be devoted to loving them in this way, and to treating them just like they are flesh and blood brothers and sisters.
And we are to value them, all of them. We should not be saying to a member of the body of Christ “we have no need of you.”
But, if they are living in sin, we don’t put them in positions of spiritual leadership or spiritual influence over others, but we work with them, in love, to bring them to repentance and restoration, leading the way for this by our own example of what it means to walk with God.
Romans 12:11 ESV
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
We are not to be spiritually lazy. Jesus did not put us on this earth and then save us from our sins so that we could go on living for sin and self, with little to no regard for him and what he wants for us and from us. For, he called us to be his holy people, living godly lives pleasing to him.
Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would no longer live for sin and self but for the glory of God. He died to free us from our slavery to sin so we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness (1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Rom 6:1-23).
So, our lives are no longer our own to do what we want, when we want, the way we want. “Retirement” is not in God’s vocabulary. We may retire from a job, but not from living to serve our Lord and to doing his will. If we have been crucified with Christ, we died to self, and now Jesus lives in us.
Do you know what this word “fervent” means? “I burn in spirit.” Like boiling water, we are to bubble over in passion for our Lord and for following him in obedience, and for living our lives according to his plan and purpose for our lives, committed to doing whatever he asks of us to do.
Romans 12:12 ESV
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
We are to rejoice in our hope which is in Jesus Christ, our Lord. And that hope is not just an escape from hell and the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life with God. For, Jesus died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so we would become slaves of him and his righteousness.
Our hope is our salvation and our relationship with our Lord. And we are saved from addiction to sin and from being under the control of sin and Satan, and we are saved to living to God and to his righteousness, and to doing his will for our lives, which will RESULT in eternal life with God.
So, please understand this. For, if we continue living in sin and for self, and we don’t bow the knee to Jesus, and we don’t honor him as Lord (master) of our lives, but we continue to go our own way, doing our own thing, it will not result in eternal life with God but in destruction of our lives for eternity.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10]
And if this is the truth that we are believing and living and sharing with others, we will face much tribulation and persecution and rejection. We will be hated, ignored, abandoned, slandered, and falsely accused, etc. But we must be patient in enduring such trials as this for the glory of God.
And absolutely we must be constant in prayer. We should have such close relationships with Jesus Christ, in fact, that we can hear him inside our heads 24/7. And we can commune with him any hour of any day or all day throughout our day, for prayer is talking to God and listening to him, too.
Romans 12:13 ESV
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
Love for God and for others is not in words only. We show our love by what we do. If we see others in need, especially those within the family of God, as God leads, and within our own means, we should reach out to help meet those needs. And determining needs vs wants is important here, too.
Finally, the doors of our hearts and our homes should be open to receiving others unselfishly, with a desire to demonstrate God’s love to them.
Being Made Right
An Original Work / September 8, 2019
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleansed and saved me,
Made me whole;
Purified me, now new within.
By His grace, I’m free from sin.
Holy Spirit lives within,
Teaching me to walk with Him,
Guiding me each step of the way.
Living for my Lord each day.
Father God, He is my Lord.
Walk with Him in one accord.
Follow Him wherever He leads,
Living holy, Him to please.
Witnessing for Him each day,
Loving others in His way,
Telling them about Jesus Christ,
And how they can be made right.