The Book of Romans Bible Study Chapter 12 Part 3

Our last reading this week is Romans 12:9-21

v9: Let love be without hypocrisy: Our love needs to be sincere and unconditional. We do not love others simply for what we can get out of them. When we love others we move towards the will of G-d, as the foundation of the law of G-d is love. Therefore, when we love (G-d, and then others) we are committed to righteousness.  

  • Abhor… evil: Hate that which is against the will of G-d. We should not get involved in or pay any attention to the things which are against G-d’s will. 
  • Cling: Stick to. Be committed to. 
  • Good: That which is related to G-d’s will. 

v10: Brotherly love: Many people have identified this as the kind of a love that one has for ones family members. This love is untaught. It is inherent, because of the family relationship. For the believer, because we are filled with the Holy Spirit, this should be the same type of love we have not only for the family but also for those who are outside the family. 

  • Giving preference: Esteeming. This is a word of value. We should recognise the value in other people. We are all a creation of G-d, so when we are unkind or dishonour someone then we are dishonouring one that G-d has created, one that Messiah died for and loves. 

v11: Diligence: When we are serving G-d, ministering, we must serve in such a way that it does not appear to be bothersome or irksome to us. 

  • Not lagging… fervent in spirit: When we carry out the will of G-d, we need to show a total commitment to it. We should not be people who drag our feet to do the will of G-d, but, with the Holy Spirit living within us, we need to be excitedly committed to doing G-d’s will. 
  • Serving the L-rd: Everything we do should be done as unto the L-rd. This is the mindset that we need to have. When we minister to others, bless others, give to others, forgive others etc we need to be of the mindset that we are doing it for the L-rd’s sake. 

v12: Rejoicing in hope: Hope causes us to rejoice.

  • Patient: Endure
  • Continuing steadfastly in prayer: Pray in a consistent way. We need to be committed to prayer. 

v13: Distributing to (participating in) the needs of the saints: Share with those fellow believers who are in need. 

  • Given to: Pursue. This is a word of intensity.
  • Hospitality: Literally: Strangers or foreigners. There are two ways to understand this word. Foreigners could be people who are unknown to us (strangers) or they can be people who come from other countries. Many people are displaced today, and we need to pursue and love them in a sincere way.

v14: Bless those who persecute you: In the natural, in our immaturity, when we are not walking by the Spirit, when someone persecutes us, we want to respond to them in kind. We want to inflict pain on those who persecute us so that we can also see them suffer. This behaviour, however, doesn’t solve the problem but often causes the situation to become even worse. When we become believers, we are supposed to grow in our faith and not act in immaturity. We are called to live differently. 

  • Curse: This is not talking about putting a spell on others. Cursing in the Bible means to speak unkindly, negatively or in an adverse way about others. We are not given the freedom to speak unkind words against those who cause us trouble.

v15: Rejoice with those who rejoice: Paul is giving us some New Covenant commandments here. Often when people are experiencing success, our insecurity and pride can get in the way and make us feel depressed that we aren’t the ones who are experiencing this success etc. Paul cautions us to not do this as this is inappropriate behaviour for a believer. When others are experiencing success, we need to be glad for them, rejoice with them. 

  • Weep with those who weep: When others are going through difficult times and are saddened, we need to empathize with them. 

v16: Note: At all times, and in every situation, we need to behave in a spiritually appropriate way. This mean behaving in a way that will bring about the Spirit’s presence and activity into a situation. 

  • Be of the same mind: We need to think in the same way that people are thinking so that we can act appropriately toward them. If they are rejoicing, we need to rejoice with them. If they are weeping, we need to weep with them etc. We need to see things from the perspective of other people so that we can understand their pain, hurt, misfortune etc. In order to minister to others effectively we need to have empathy. We are called to be a blessing to others and if we cannot empathize with someone, we will not be a blessing to them. 
  • High things: Haughty manner. In a prideful way. Being proud always has to do with self. When we have an opportunity to minister to others (to assist, encourage, teach them etc) we must not allow pride to get in the way. 
  • The humble: Those who are lowly. Those in society who the world sees as in a “lower class”, those of a lower situation. Those who do not necessarily possess much in the way of assets or influence. Lowly people are easily dominated or exploited. 
  • Do not be (thinking) in your own opinion: Prov 3:5. We can only effectively minister to others through G-d’s revelation – through His truth.  

v17: Repay no one evil for evil: When someone is unkind to us, our natural response is to lash out at them. We, however, need to remember that we are new creations and must behave as such. 

  • Have regard for good things: We need to provide good to people from G-d’s perspective. We want to influence people and not manipulate them. 

v18: Live peaceably: Avoid conflict. This, however, does not mean that we compromise truth.  

v19: Do not avenge yourselves: We are not G-d and must not take matters into our own hands. Vengeance is not about us being defended but is for the purpose of producing righteousness out of a situation. 

  • It is written: Quoted from Deut 32:35

v20: Therefore, if your enemy hungers: Quoted from Prov 25:21-22. When we behave in this way toward our enemies it is with the hope that their behaviour will change and that our enemies will be brought into submission to the will of G-d. 

v21: Do not be overcome by evil: We must not allow evil to dominate us.

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