Holding Fast to What is Good

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.”

There are people in this world who will tell you that they love you but then they will do evil against you deliberately. That is not genuine love. To love God is to obey his commandments, so if we refuse to obey him, and we make disobedience our practice, that is not genuine love for God.

Love for God is to love what he loves and to hate what he hates, and he hates evil. So, we are to abhor all that is evil, such as lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, sexual immorality, drunkenness, idolatry, taking advantage of others, abuse, slander, and the like.

And we are to hold fast to what is good, such as the gospel of our salvation as taught by Jesus and his apostles, and purity, holiness, righteousness, honesty, faithfulness, morality, kindness, genuine love, compassion, obedience to our Lord, forsaking of sins, and submission to Christ as Lord.

And brotherly affection involves genuine love, care, and concern for the welfare of others, for what is for their good, as God calls good. So, brotherly affection will speak the truth in love to one another, encourage and exhort one another toward holy living, and will teach the truth of the gospel.

If we are not slothful in zeal, but fervent in spirit in serving our Lord, we will walk in obedience to his commands, leave our sinful practices behind us, and submit to him as Lord. We will follow him wherever he leads us and do and say whatever it is he leads us to do and to say, even if it gets us hated.

But even if we are hated and rejected for the sake of righteousness, and for the sake of the gospel, we are to rejoice, and we are to be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer. For, Jesus told us that as he was hated so would we be hated if we follow him in his ways and in his truth.

And we are to care about the legitimate needs of others. Obviously, we can’t meet everyone’s needs, so we need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in this so we know what true needs are and how best we can help meet them. This will involve discernment regarding needs vs wants, too.

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.”

To bless others means to speak reason which confers benefit, or it means to confer what is beneficial (in God’s eyes), such as when God blesses us. So, this doesn’t mean to go around saying false niceties so that others will like us and think we are nice. It means to do for them or to speak to them what will benefit them spiritually and in a good way, i.e., that is for their good.

And along those same lines, we don’t rejoice with evil, but with good, so if people are rejoicing over what is evil, then we don’t rejoice with them. If others are weeping over the loss of what is clearly evil, we don’t weep with them, either. We don’t mourn over the loss of evil, but we mourn over the loss of what is good and righteous and holy.

Also, living in harmony with one another never involves compromise of truth, righteousness, holiness, purity, morality, and faithfulness, etc. It does not involve us ceasing to stand on truth or to cease teaching the gospel of our salvation because it might offend others. We only live in harmony with others in the same way we live in harmony with our Lord Jesus.

Also, standing on the truth of the gospel, and living a holy and godly life, and teaching purity, faithfulness, morality, honesty, and obedience to our Lord, and guarding our own minds and hearts against all evil is not being haughty. Living a godly and holy life pleasing to the Lord is not being self-righteous or thinking we are better than everyone else, either.

And the lowly that we are to associate with are not those living in sin, doing all sorts of evil, especially if they call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. They are those of low standing socially or financially, or they are brothers and sisters in Christ who are being hated and rejected for the sake of their walks of faith who, in humility, walk in obedience to the Lord.

For, we are never to be wise in our own sight. Therefore, this haughtiness has to do with the wisdom of this world or of our own flesh keeping us from associating with those we might feel are beneath us socially or intellectually or financially, or that might hinder us from associating with those who are rich in faith and in walks of obedience to the Lord.

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.”

When people do evil against us, and they will, it is not our place to get even with them. God is the only one who has the right to repay people for the evil that they do, for we have all done evil at some time or another. But this does not mean that we accept evil, or that we say nothing or do nothing to try to prevent evil from occurring.

So, when people do evil against us, we can lovingly confront them, we can speak truth into the situation, and we can call for repentance, and for submission to Christ, and for obedience to the Lord, for this is a loving thing to do, and it is kind. Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” That should be the message we give out, too. That is grace!

And rather than having the desire to get even with those who do evil against us, we are to pray for them, do good to them, and do and say what is beneficial for them, for their good. If they are truly hungry, we feed them, and if they are thirsty, we give them something to drink, for in this way we are not being overcome by evil, but we are overcoming evil with good.

Nearer, My God, to Thee

Lyrics: Sarah F. Adams, pub. 1841
Vs. 6: Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr.
Music: Lowell Mason, 1856

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

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