Do you believe all of Romans 12?
If you open your Bible to Romans 12:9-21 it probably has a heading like “Marks of the True Christian” or something closely related and rightly so. In this text, one finds such things as genuine love, abhorrence of evil, holding fast to what is good, love for one another, showing honor to others, etc., etc. These are all things one would expect to see in the life of a Christian and things that growing Christians should be cultivating in their own lives, but for the purposes of this blog I would like to draw attention to some other aspects of the text, namely those verses that speak to how one should respond to those who sin against him.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. . . .
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
19 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.”
20 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.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Rom. 12:14, 17-21 ESV)
In verse 14 Paul commands us to bless those who persecute us and do not curse them. How many of you think of this verse when a friend, loved one, or someone else is sinning against you? Is your fist thought how can I bless this individual or is it more along the lines of how can I get even or make them see how much they have wronged me? God would have us seek the other person’s good. He would have us bless them. Part of that blessing may need to come in the form of a loving, and I do mean, loving confrontation. We do have a responsibility to call sin, sin and to deal with it biblically (confession, repentance, forgiveness). What greater blessing is there than to be right with God?
God would also have us do what is honorable and live at peace with all as much as it depends on us. We cannot control what other people do. We do not know how others will respond to us, but we are called to obey God’s commands and here he has told us not to repay evil with evil. He has told us not to avenge ourselves but to leave vengeance to him. He has told us to tend to our enemy’s needs and to overcome evil with good.
We must keep in mind, that to ignore what is taught in this text is to doubt God’s justice. It is to declare that God’s justice is not sufficient so mine must be asserted. Friends, every sin committed will be paid for in one way or another. It will be paid for by the person in hell forever or by God in the person of Christ on the cross. To exact one’s own vengeance, is to say either that Christ’s death was not sufficient or that God’s wrath is not sufficient. Justice will be served in the end if not in this life. The question is do we trust God.
So, do you? Do you trust that what God has commanded in this text is good and right? Do you trust that what God has commanded in this text is the best for you?
In our current culture where one’s political views or opinions on COVID-19 have pitted us against each other, do you believe what God has commanded in Romans 12? Do you seek to bless the one who disagrees with you politically and has been unkind to you on social media? In your interactions with those with whom you disagree do you seek to live at peace with them in how you disagree? If you have been on the receiving end of evil do you return evil or do you return good? When untrue, slanderous comments are made about you do you retaliate, do you seek revenge, or do you seek to bless and overcome evil with good?
Friends, God has commanded it. Do you believe it is best for you?
By His Grace Alone,