Romans 12:9­-21

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 19, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9-21)

How do you love? Is love just a feeling, or is it something you do? How do we show our love for someone? Here, Paul gives us a long list of commands to explain to us how to live out our lives in love.

Paul’s writing style changes pretty dramatically here, which you can see if you read any part of the book of Romans before this. He goes from long, thought-provoking sentences to short, brief commands. Nearly every verb (action word) here in this passage is what’s called an imperative, which is the fancy grammatical word for a command. These aren’t merely suggestions, but commands for us.

It almost appears that these are all disjointed thoughts without a unifying theme, but the overall idea is to have a humble attitude and keep peace with one another, whether they are fellow believers in Christ or not. These attitudes demonstrate the love that we should have for others, because of the love we have for Jesus and the love He has for us.

These commands all fall under the heading of sincere love, as verse 9 starts out with: “Love must be sincere.” All of these commands demonstrate for us what sincere love is - actually putting love into action with good intentions, not just going through the motions to do what appears to be loving.

Beyond that brief introduction, these commands can be broken up into 3 groups. Verses 9b-13 show us the many ways we can show sincere love to one another. Verses 14-16 show how we can live in peace and harmony with one another. Finally, verses 17-21 show how can should overcome evil with good, particularly in the act of not retaliating on evil.

Taken all at once, these commands may seem completely overwhelming. You may be thinking, how am I going to remember all of these, much less incorporate them into my everyday life? Well, that’s where the power of the Holy Spirit comes in. We can’t do these things on our own, since they are contrary to our human nature. If we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2), these things will come a little more easily to us. When we strive to live a life like Jesus Christ, this is what it will look like! These commands are giving us the details on how to live out the big picture of a life like Jesus lived. If you focus on Him, all the rest will fall into place.

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