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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #43 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 15

05 Mar

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 14.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, to share with the Lord’s people who are in need, and to practice hospitality! A lot of work!

The fifteenth critical imperative is —15. Believers are to BLESS THOSE WHO PERSECUTE THEM (v. 14)!

I know very little about persecution. I have never been threatened for my faith, never been assaulted for my beliefs, never been discriminated against for my convictions. My heart goes out to the many believers in the world who do face physical danger in their culture for following Jesus.

It’s quite possible that some Western Christians are passed over for job promotions or ignored or ridiculed for their faith. And with our part of the world becoming more anti-Christian, perhaps persecution is just around the corner for us.

But right now, we are to bless those who persecute us. What does “bless” them mean here? It’s certainly the opposite of “curse” those who persecute us. We are not to pray imprecatory prayers against those who make life difficult for us as individuals. We are not to retaliate in kind toward those who mock our faith. We are to “bless” them. That doesn’t mean we agree with their opposition, but that we don’t respond in an ungodly way to their harsh treatment of us. And that takes God’s power, doesn’t it?

Today’s Challenge: Can you think of anyone in your acquaintance who in some way or another is “persecuting” you? Then pray for them today. And ask God to show you how you can “bless” them.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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2 responses to “Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #43 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 15

  1. jossy seriphin

    March 5, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Verse 14 is asking us to do the exact opposite of our natural tendency, which is to get even especially when we are harmed unjustly. Thank you for your great reflection and for the reminder of doing what Christ did when he was on the cross, praying for those who wanted him dead.

    Jossy, from Haiti !

     
  2. Dr. Larry Dixon

    March 6, 2021 at 6:28 am

    Thank you, Jossy, for your comment! And for reading my blog! Blessings. Dr. D.

     

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