Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection (Rm. 12:9, 10a).
The apostle Paul, in the twelfth chapter of his letter to the Romans, continues in the paragraph that begins in verse nine with the practical exhortations that are built upon his theological discourse that precedes this present section in chapters one through eleven. Having solidified the Roman church’s knowledge of God in Christ, he continues to demonstrate how that knowledge is to transform one into the image of Christ and to destroy his conformity to the world (cf. v. 12:2).
In verse nine, the true knowledge of God in the face of Christ by faith exhibits itself in genuine love toward those in the church. What is interesting in this verse, and yet so wonderfully applicable, is the first instruction given by the apostle to exhibit genuine love, namely, “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” In other words, the first and primary step to loving the church genuinely is to despise evil and to love good. For if love toward Christ’s church is to be practiced truly and rightly, it must always be done in the context of holiness. For any love that attempts to demonstrate itself apart from God’s decrees and demands for holiness in his Bride is not love at all, but it is hatred. For true love is always concerned first with the glory of God and second with the state of a person’s soul, and to attempt to love a person without regard God’s glory or without regard to their soul, despite sentiment, demonstrates a cold callousness that is concerned more with ease and feigned peace than it is with pressing a soul unto godliness.
However, this abhorrence of evil and clinging to that which is good is to be practiced in the church in a manner that befits brotherly affection. Just as attempts to love a soul without regard to holiness are false and destructive, so are attempts to love a soul by holiness apart from brotherly affection false and destructive. For the lover of holiness in the church must also have a deep affection for the church that exhibits itself in patience and longsuffering toward his brothers and sisters. For this is the manner in which holiness in the church must be endured in this age, for holiness is not an instant transformation, but it is a gradual conformity to the image of Christ by the seemingly slow but sure work of the Spirit of God. And as such, love for holiness must be accompanied by the same patience with which the Holy Spirit of God endures each of us.
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study