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Romans 12:9-10

With Unfeigned Love

9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;


Paul's typical sequence of topics is to move from the discussion of the body of Christ to the relational environment that we are to maintain within the body. The main theme is, of course, that of love.

Now he tells us that our love for one another is to be genuine, unfeigned, and strong. He uses the Greek word agape for love. It is a form of godly love, a love that asks for nothing in return and is unconditional. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently..." (1Peter 1:22)

This is a love that has to be more than a simple emotion. "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (1John 3:18) True love must be expressed though kind deeds and works of charity. It is the kind of love that God wants us to show to everyone whether they are Christians or pagans. Jesus even told us to love (agapao) our enemies in Matthew 5:44. If we cannot love one another unconditionally, how could we expect to obey the Lord and love our enemies?

We are to love people while abhorring evil of any kind. Evil thoughts, words and deeds destroy relationships by creating resentment, jealousy, envy and hatred within them. The only hatred a Christian should foster is that of everything evil. "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil." (Isaiah 1:16)

"Cleave to that which is good." This sentence has an interesting grammatical structure in the Greek text. The word "cleave" is a present passive participle of a verb that means to cling to something. In the present tense, it says that this is something that we should always and continuously be doing. The passive voice indicates that we are not the ones doing the clinging but have been in a sense "glued" by someone else to that which is good. As a participle, it describes both the action and the one to whom it is done. If we think about those elements, we get the idea that we should be described as a people whom Christ has separated from sin and from all forms of evil and has permanently glued us to a love for everything that is good.

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love..." Here the Greek word philadelphia is used to express the concept of family. Brotherly love is important to the church body. We are members one of another, members of the same family, a new family, the family of God. When someone told Jesus that His mother and brothers were outside wanting to see Him, "...he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" (Matthew 12:49)

"...in honour preferring one another..." This might be better understood in the literal sense. "Leading the way to show respect for one another." True love does not wait for someone else to act first. True love takes the initiative to reach out to others. It leads the way in giving others the respect they are due. "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3)

Before The Throne:

How is this passage reflected in your life? Ask the Lord to purify your heart, to put aside all evil thoughts toward others and to give you the ability to love unconditionally. Pray for your church to have a growing sense of family. Ask the Lord to stop the dissension and friction within the church body. Confess your sins, if at anytime you have shown or felt any kind of disrespect for a brother or sister in Christ.

For Further Study:

(v.9)
** love. 2Sam 20:9-10; Ps 55:21; Prov 26:25; Ezek 33:31; Matt 26:49; John 12:6; 2Cor 6:6; 2Cor 8:8; 1Thess 2:3; 1Tim 1:5; Jas 2:15-16; 1Pet 1:22; 1Pet 4:8; 1Jo 3:18-20; ** Abhor. Ps 34:14; Ps 36:4; Ps 45:7; Ps 97:10; Ps 101:3; Ps 119:104, 163; Prov 8:13; Amos 5:15; Heb 1:9; ** cleave. Acts 11:23; 1Thess 5:15; Heb 12:14; 1Pet 3:10-11;

(v.10) ** kindly. John 13:34-35; John 15:17; John 17:21; Acts 4:32; Gal 5:6, 13, 22; Eph 4:1-3; Col 1:4; 1Thess 4:9; 2Thess 1:3; Heb 13:1; 1Pet 1:22; 1Pet 2:17; 1Pet 3:8-9; 2Pet 1:7; 1John 2:9-11; 1John 3:10-18; 1John 4:11, 20-21; 1John 5:1-2; ** with brotherly love. Job 1:4; Ps 133:1; ** in honour. Gen 13:9; Matt 20:26; Luke 14:10; Phil 2:3; 1Pet 5:5;

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