Summary: God’s family is not to be conformed to the natural living of this world but to supernatural living which is produced, directed, & empowered by God’s own Spirit. Supernatural living is transforming the outer life by the inner life being conformed to C
CHRISTIAN RELATING SERIES
ROMANS 12: 9-13
LOVE IN THE FAMILY OF GOD
A small boy sat with his mother in church listening to a sermon entitled, "WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?" The preacher punctuated his message at several key points by asking, "What is a Christian?" Each time, he pounded his fist on the pulpit for emphasis. After one of these the boy whispered to his mother, "Momma do you know? Do you know what is a Christian is?" "Yes dear," the mother replied, "now try to sit still and listen." As the preacher was wrapping up his sermon, once again he thundered "What is a Christian?" and pounded especially hard on the pulpit. At that point the boy jumped up and cried, "Tell him Momma, tell him!"
What should be the attitude of born again believers toward fellow Christians? It is possible to exercise spiritual gifts in an unspiritual way. God’s family is not to be conformed to the natural living of this world but to the supernatural living which is produced, directed, and empowered by God’s own Spirit. Supernatural living is transforming the outer life by the inner life being conformed to Christ-likeness. How this productive, disciplined obedience occurs in the Christian and the body of Christ is by agape Love. Love is the circulatory system of the spiritual body, which enables all members truly connected to Christ to function in a healthy harmoniously way. If a believer is walking in the Spirit and experiencing the Love of God he or she will see these specific commands come about in his or her life in greater and greater ways. So let’s look at the various precepts of love in the family of God, starting with our personal responsibilities and then our duties within the Family of God (CIT).
I. PERSONAL DUTIES, 9.
In verse nine Paul mentions three personal duties of supernatural living. "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good."
The first duty commanded is to "let love be without hypocrisy." The greatest virtue of the Christian life is love. Love represents unselfish, self-giving, willful devotion. This Agape love is an honest love not hypocritical or a love mask. Agape love centers on the needs and welfare of the one loved. This love is genuine, sincere love that is without hypocrisy or pretense. It is untainted by self-centeredness.
The Greek word hypocrisy (hypokrites) was used for play-acting. The church must not be turned into a stage. Love must not be an act but must be real. Yet there is such a thing as pretense-love. This veneer of love has been with Christians from the beginning when it was displayed in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus with a kiss. The sham or pretense of his love was unmasked when he sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. Love must not be faked, must not consist of empty words and actions. Sincere love helps others become better Christians.
The next Christian duty is to hate what is evil. It may seem strange that the command to love is followed by the exhortation to hate. Agape love is not a blind sentiment. It is so passionately devoted to God that it hates its opposite which is evil (Ps. 97:10).
Evil is the enemy of God and the enemy of love. Hatred, abhorrence or loathing of evil engenders an avoidance of it. We are to love what God loves and hate what God hates.
The third personal duty of supernatural living is to cling to what is good. The verb cling (kollao) came from the word for glue (kolla) and was used of any bond- physical, emotional, or spiritual. As servants of Christ we are to bind ourselves to what is good (agathos), that which is inherently right and worthy.
The good is "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute." And "if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise," Paul continues, "let your mind dwell on (or cling to ) these things" (Phil. 4:8) [MacArthur, John. N.T. Com. Romans. Moody. Chicago. p. 187. ]
You cannot hold a fast grip on what is good until you hate what is evil. As we separate ourselves from the way of the world and fill ourselves with the Word of God, the things that are good will more and more replace the things that are evil.
II. DUTIES TO THE FAMILY OF GOD, 10-13.
Verses ten through 13 teach ten duties of believers to fellow members in the family of God. These references as to how Christians are to relate to each other begins with Christian fellowship in verse 10. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."