“Wrestling With Romans”
Love One Another (Chapter 12 Verses 9-21)
The love with which God loved the world (John 3.16), must be found in every believer, in sincerity (v9), that is to say, without any hypocrisy. The word hypocrisy belongs to the world of the stage, an actor who perhaps wears a mask. Well genuine love doesn’t wear a mask (1John 3.18). The lack of love that attempts to hide behind a mask of love and words is often uncovered when there are disagreements, or people within the community who don’t get their own way. The only answer to it is to honour others above ourselves, in pure loving Christian devotion. It’s called family affection. There is only one thing a Christian should hate – evil (v9). The thought is of the evil that comes from the source of evil, the wicked one, Satan (Matthew 13.19; Ephesians 6.16; 1John 2.13-14), and of course the whole world lies under his pernicious influence (1John 5.19). The good we ought to love and cling to, is moral good, spiritually, savingly beneficial. It carries with it the thought of a persons salvation, to such, a Christian should be glued to, firmly and permanently.
The family affection is expressed here in this brotherly love (v10). Within this family we are all on the same level, but yet there are still differences, there are children, parents, and grandparents. This family stands out amidst all the families in the world, because of our devotion towards one another (John 13.35). There is nothing more important, I’ve said it before in these notes, and I say it again without apology, it comes before any gifts (1Corinthians 13.1), it comes before doctrine (1Corinthians 13.2), it comes before martyrdom (1Corinthians 13.3). If we haven’t got love, we haven’t got anything at all, no, not even Jesus. To honour, to respect others, prefer is a bad translation, it excludes jealousy whether over gifts, knowledge, or position. A lust for superiority over others, a jealous seeking for honour in the Church is conformity to the world (v2), such a person needs some transforming ministry. When God’s people obey such admonitions as these, there is peace, harmony, fellowship in the Church. These are words the Church needs today to bring an end to the squabbling, the in-fighting, the taking of offence unnecessarily including the divisions amongst us. Paul, elsewhere, looking for an example of humility in order to bring two warring factions together, found it on the pinnacle of the universe (Philippians 2.3-11), your attitude he says (Philippians 2.5), should be exactly the same as that of Jesus. The way up is down.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)