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.”
This word “love” means to prefer (to choose) what God prefers (his choices). And what he prefers (chooses) is what is holy, righteous, good, pure, moral, upright, godly, faithful, honest, and unadulterated. But we are not to fake it. We are not to be hypocritical. But we are to love sincerely.
For, when we love sincerely, that love comes from a pure heart, with the right motives, thinking of what is best for others. It is not selfish or self-motivated, thinking of how we can make others think that we are wonderful so that they will like us. Some people do this.
When we love sincerely with this love which prefers what God prefers, we will hate (abhor, despise) evil of all kinds, which includes immorality, lying, cheating, abusing, gossiping, deceiving, course joking and lewd comments, etc. We don’t abhor just the kinds of evil which make the news headlines.
And we are to hold fast (cling) to what is good, which is what is good (wholesome, moral, upright) in the eyes of God, not in the eyes of mankind. So, we shouldn’t be listening to or viewing what is immoral or wicked, or which gives glory to adultery, theft, hatred, and getting even with others.
In our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, we are to be surrendered to our Lord and committed to following him wherever he leads us. He is to be our life, and what we do should flow from our relationship with him and not from our flesh. We are to serve him always, not just when it is convenient for us.
And when we go through trials and tribulations which try our faith, we are to remain steadfast in our faith and hope and not waver due to our circumstances. Instead of letting the difficulties in this life to get us down, we are to be constant in prayer and in trusting the Lord with our lives.
And we are to continue in loving one another by what we do, and not just by what we say, although doing can be in speaking the truth to people, too, which is for their deliverance from sin and for their release from bondage so that they can walk in newness of life in Christ in holiness and righteousness.
Romans 12:14-16 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.”
As long as we are following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly with our lives, and we are doing and saying the kinds of things he did and said, and as long as we stand fast on the word of God and the gospel of our salvation, and we don’t waver, we will be hated, and we will be persecuted.
For our enemy Satan hates the truth. He hates righteousness and holiness. And he hates obedience to God/Jesus Christ. For, his goal is to deceive us into believing his lies so that we will follow him and his minions, instead. For, he wants us captive to him and to sin, not to Christ.
Thus, he is the one behind the cheap grace gospel, for it requires no repentance, no obedience to Christ, and no surrender of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It leaves its adherents still in bondage to their sin and still headed to hell while promising them heaven when they die.
And since so many people today are believing in this cheap grace gospel, they will be opposed to you if you stand on the truth of the gospel. And you will be accused of being self-righteous, intolerant, unloving, hateful, legalistic, and of teaching works-based salvation.
But we are not to return “tit-for-tat.” We are to return hate with love. And we are to continue loving others with Christ’s love, even to those who do us wrong and who speak evil against us. But living in harmony with one another should never involve compromise of faith or morality.
Romans 12:17-21 ESV
“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. 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.”
We are to forgive those who do us wrong, and we are not to try to get even or wish for them to have to pay for the wrong that they did. We should care about their lives, though, and we should pray for them to know the Lord and to be delivered from their bondage to sin and to walk in holiness.
If others treat us with hate, we are to treat them with love. If they do us harm, we are to do good to them in return. We are to care about their needs, and as the Lord leads, we are to help meet those needs, if we are able. But the point here is really that we do good to those who hate us.
And we are not to let evil or evil people get to us or affect us and how we act. But we are to resist all evil and cling to what is good. And we are to overcome evil by not letting it upset us or take us out, and by us not yielding to the evil itself so we don’t do what is evil.
Instead, we are to overcome evil with good, and this involves not just doing good to others who have treated us badly, but this involves resisting temptation to do evil and putting off all evil by replacing evil with what is good. So, if we are tempted to do what is wrong, we do good, instead.
In all of this, we are to be putting away all evil from our lives, and we are to be living for the Lord, and for his glory and praise, by doing what he desires and requires of us as we yield control of our lives over to the Lord. And in this way he will get all the glory for what he accomplishes in our lives.
Praise the Lord
Lyrics by John Kempthorne (1775-1838),
Music by Lowell Mason (1841)
Based on Psalm 148:1-2
Praise the Lord! ye heav’ns adore him;
Praise him angels, in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before him;
Praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord! for he has spoken;
Worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance he has made.
Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
Never shall his promise fail;
God has made his saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on high his pow’r proclaim;
Heav’n, and earth, and all creation,
Laud and magnify his name.
Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto thee;
Young and old, thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in heav’n adore thee,
We would bow before thy throne;
As thine angels serve before thee,
So on earth thy will be done.
Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah!
Amen, Amen, Amen.
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