Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I like it because it’s simple, direct, and relevant. It speaks to the essence of my Christian life. It reminds me, as Warren Wiersbe put it, that “doctrine and duty always go together.”
Each verse powerfully presents practical exhortations that, when applied, will make my life better. My relationships stronger. And my Christianity visible to others who witness my daily walk.
Today, consider Romans 12:9 and these three simple admonitions. “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”
(1) Let your love be sincere.
Love is the great theme of the Bible. Jesus said that all of the commandments are based on love. Either our love for God or our love for our fellow-man. (Matt 22:37-40)
But love is not an act. Or just being nice to others. Or engaging and exchanging in customary courtesies. Love must be real. Genuine. Authentic.
Dean O’Bryan reminds us that “our English word sincere has a story behind it. It’s from a Latin word meaning ‘without wax.’ That term grew from a practice of Roman merchants who sold porcelain and clay jars and pots. Their jars would sometimes have cracks — they’d just take some wax and fill the crack, then paint it — the buyer wouldn’t be any the wiser. Over time, buyers learned to hold clay jars up toward the sun and look inside — if a jar had a crack, the sunlight would show it up. Honest merchants labeled their jars and pots “sincerus’ — ‘without wax’”.
Our love must be without wax covering the cracks that we’re trying to hide. Our relationships with our family, friends and brethren must be based on honesty, sincerity, and openness. Real love does not have disingenuous motives. Or a hidden agenda.
(2) Hate everything that is evil.
Sadly we live in an age aptly described by the prophet Isaiah. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20)
To hate evil we must know what it is. And it is God who defines it. Not pop culture. Not politicians. Not Hollywood. The Bible exposes the works of wickedness that are fleshly, carnal, and sensual (Gal. 5:19-21).
Too many Christians have been influenced by a false love to endure evil, feel sympathy toward it and sadly soon embrace it. While the morals of modern society change, the standards or righteousness are unchanging.
Our love for God and goodness should cause us to hate sexual impurity, putrid language, and ungodly attitudes and actions.
(3) Hold on to everything that is good.
The Bible speaks of something or someone being “good” 699 times. We read of “good works.” “Good deeds.” “Good testimony.” “Good fruit.” “Good conduct” “Good stewards.” “Good confession.” “Good seed.” “Good treasure.” “Good minister.” “Good reputation.” And simply, “good things.”
The word “good” almost needs no definition. We have an internal, intuitive notion of what it means to do good, or be good. I can remember as a little kid when I misbehaved and my Mom would furrow up her brow, get an aggravated look on her face and scold me by saying, “Be good!” I knew what that meant!
So, cling tight with all your might to everything that is good as defined by “The Good Book.”
A simple verse. Three short exhortations. Yet, profound in their application. Today.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman