Sunday – September 11, 2022
Word On Worship – Sunday – September 11, 2022
“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Even in the church, the vigilante spirit is alive and well. Christians sometimes attempt to sanctify their anger calling it righteous indignation, but we too are tempted to retaliate against those who mistreat us. Piously, we may pretend to resist evil supposing that God is on our side as we seek to “even the score” by causing hurt or harm to those who have mistreated us. Yet, Scripture calls for much more of us, requiring death to the flesh and the subordination of our personal interests to those of others.
Paul’s teaching in Romans is not new, the same essential truths were taught in the Old Testament as Paul cites from the Book of Proverbs. The teaching of our Lord Jesus calls for the same attitudes and actions (Matthew 5:38-48) along with the teaching of the other apostles (1 Peter 3:8-12; James 3). But as clear, consistent, and emphatic as the teaching of our text may be, it is not popular because it runs contrary to the inclinations of our flesh. We are tempted to try to find a way to excuse ourselves from simple obedience of the Word of God. We must be on guard against this temptation and let His Spirit to guide our interpretation and implementation as we seek to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices and as we love and serve Him through loving service to others.
You may wonder, what should I do if I’ve already blown it? Maybe you didn’t stop to think about how you should respond and so you exploded in anger at a difficult neighbor or family member. You pretty much ruined your testimony. Now what? The answer is, humble yourself, go to the person you wronged, and ask forgiveness. Don’t try to use your apology to witness to them, because they will think you’re just apologizing so that you can give them the religious pitch. Just ask forgiveness and leave it with them to ask about your faith.
Romans 12 calls upon the Christian to live in an entirely different way. We are to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices. To do so, we must be transformed from what we were and not be conformed to the world. This is done by the renewing of our minds. Our thinking ceases to be in merely human terms but conforms to God’s thoughts. We must realize that to live as Christians, we must first think as Christians. This kind of thinking comes only through the Word of God, illuminated by the Spirit of God. Our text highlights the contrast between God’s thoughts and man’s. Let us be conformed to His thoughts. Let us obey Him by loving our enemies, seeking their benefit and, ultimately, seeking their salvation.