Thursday 27 February 2014

Bible Book:

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” (v. 9)

Romans 12:9-21 Thursday 27 February 2014


Paul continues to depict the character of life in Christ byencouraging his readers to pursue lives of love and faithfulness.The passage is filled with brief exhortations, with the firstsection dealing mainly with life in the Church (verses 9-13), andthe second focusing largely on how to relate with those outside tothe Church who are hostile to it (verses 14-21). For Paul, it isimportant that Christians relate well to those inside as well asoutside the community of faith.

Genuine love should mark the lives of believers (verse 9).Christians should treat one another with affection and honour(verse 10), and extend hospitality to those within - and also without - the church (verse 13). Paul encourages believers to"rejoice... be patient ... persevere in prayer" (v. 11). Living alife of love towards others involves constant openness to the Godwho has called us.

In turning to relationships with those outside the Church, Paulassumes a context of social hostility. Believers can expectpersecution and rejection, just as Jesus said they would (Matthew 5:11-12). In response, however,believers are called to 'bless' their persecutors, seeking theirgood (verse 14). They are to strive for peace and harmony, and - atall costs - avoid vengeance, since God will act justly when thetime is right (verse 18-20). In a helpful summary of his advice,Paul encourages Christians to "overcome evil with good" (v.21).

It is significant that Paul's instructions here are shaped bythe teaching of Jesus. It was Jesus who emphasised love of God andneighbour (Matthew 22:36-40), and Jesus who called forblessing of enemies (Matthew 5:43-45). Paul was no maverick inventorof Christianity, but a faithful follower of Jesus who applied histeaching in new circumstances.

To Ponder

  • In what ways can Christians today "outdo one another in showinghonour" (v. 10)?
  • How do you think Paul's instructions can help Christiansexperiencing persecution in the world today?
  • How can we allow Jesus' teachings to shape our own lives, justas Paul did? 

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