Summary: Our love because of God’s mercy
January 16, 2011
In the book of Romans we’ve seen the great mercy of God towards us. Even though we’ve hated Him and turned away, even though we’ve become useless, He has loved us and set us free from sin and paid our debt so that we might live with Him.
Now it’s only logical that we would offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Him as we become more and more like Christ, functioning as one body, and serving each other as He’s gifted us.
Let love be without dissimulation .
Dissimulation means “to hide under a false appearance.” For instance, someone might shake hands to dissimulate friendship. In other words, he shakes hands because he wants to have the appearance of a friend even though he’s not.
You might say that when Judas kissed Jesus it was a kiss of dissimulation—it was a pretend kiss.
Our love is to be genuine and not pretend.
Now, before we get too far into the command, let’s talk about how God has made provision for us to obey it. Do you remember back in Romans 5:5 where he tells us that the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which He’s given us?
You see, when God saved us, He set His Holy Spirit in us and now He bears fruit through us. You only have to think back to Romans 3 where he says all those horrible things about how we all have snake’s venom under our tongues, and how we’re swift to shed blood, and how we don’t know the way of peace. We weren’t just lacking in righteousness; we were abounding in wickedness!
But now we’ve been saved, and we have a new nature—we still have our old nature which hates and strives, but we also have our new nature which loves and forgives and rests. As believers we can walk by the Spirit or we can walk by the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17), but the command to love with genuine love isn’t too hard for us because our love is the result of the Spirit’s work.
You might think there’s someone here you could never love, and I’ll say that as long as you walk by the flesh, then you’re right: you can’t. But because the love of God is poured out into your heart by His Spirit, and since the fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22), then you can obey the command since nothing is impossible with God (Lk. 1:37)!
But I’m not talking about just trying to think positively or trying to convince yourself that you love someone. He tells us to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
The idea is that when we walk by the Spirit and sow spiritual things, then we’ll reap the benefits of the Spirit. How do we love people we might otherwise hate? Walk by the Spirit!
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Col. 3:12-17).
This is walking by the Spirit.
And by the way, when a person really loves the brethren, that’s a sure sign of genuine salvation. If you want assurance of salvation just look to see whether you love these fellow saints or not: “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (I Jn. 2:9-11).
So because of these great mercies of God, and because of all He’s done for us, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices and we have a genuine love. We also,
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.