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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

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.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #42 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 14

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 again at verse 13.

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, and to share with the Lord’s people who are in need! Challenging!

The fourteenth critical imperative is —14. Believers are to PRACTICE HOSPITALITY (v. 13)!

I live in the South where people traditionally built houses with large, wraparound front porches so the neighbors could come by and sit for a spell, drinking wonderfully sugared iced tea! Sadly, those porches seem to have fallen into disuse. It seems money is no longer wasted on such luxuries when few are inclined to get to know their neighbors, much less invite them over for a spell.

But what have we lost? Our homes have been transformed into our castles, apparently with a moat around them stocked with alligators and a drawbridge that is only lowered for relatives who visit! The believer can choose to be counter-cultural in becoming more neighbor-friendly, don’t you think?

It is possible that the Apostle Paul here is referring to believers’ showing hospitality to other believers. This is a needed challenge, especially in a Covid or post-Covid world where we choose to become “socially distanced” even when we don’t have to!

But our unsaved friends and neighbors need to see inside our homes! They need to be invited over for a game night, to watch a good movie together, to simply spend time getting to know one another, to be part of an evangelistic Bible study! And those efforts involve . . . HOSPITALITY!

Today’s Challenge: How would you rate yourself and your family on the hospitality scale? What is one practical step you can take to become more hospitable with your home?

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #41 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 13

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 13.

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, and to be faithful in prayer! Ouch!

The thirteenth critical imperative is —13. Believers are to SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED (v. 13)!

The first-century Christians shared their material goods with each other, as we see in Acts 2. They recognized the poor among them — and did something about it. Part of the challenge today is that we are seldom honest about our needs. We want others to think we are self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and self-dependent.

This critical imperative — sharing with those who are needy among the people of God — hits us where we live. It challenges our greed, our possessiveness, our captivity to things.

In our Western culture where most of us are incredibly wealthy compared to the rest of the world, there are means other than financial which we can share with the people of God. What do you have that you could share with another believer if you (1) knew their need and (2) chose to do something to meet that need?

Today’s Challenge: Open your eyes this week and notice a need that another brother or sister has — that you can meet. And meet that need! Feel free to leave a comment below.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #40 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 12

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 12.

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, and to be patient in affliction! Wow!

The twelfth critical imperative is —12. Believers are to BE FAITHFUL IN PRAYER (v. 12)!

This imperative is, for me, rather painful. I am not a prayer warrior. I’m not a prayer conscientious objector. I’m what might be called a prayer pacifist. I’m usually at peace that I’m such a pathetic pray-er! And that’s SIN.

There is so much that I need to learn about prayer. I need to learn that having God on speed dial when I’m in trouble is, at the very least, insulting to Him. I need to learn that prayer is often a missing weapon in my spiritual arsenal, and that’s lethal. I need to learn that I rely way too often on my own strength and forget about GOD! And that’s just dumb.

This critical imperative is not worded as “PRAY!” But rather “be faithful in prayer.” Faithful to what? to Whom? It certainly means that I keep my word when I promise others that I will pray for them. It certainly means that I will trust God’s faithfulness to me — and rest on His promises. It certainly entails a discipline of getting on my knees (spiritually, not physically [I’d have trouble getting back up!]) and getting serious about my walk with Him, others’ struggles to do the same, and the raw truth that He knows far better than we do. About everything. So I need to do more faithful praying!

Today’s Challenge: How would you rate your prayer life? Would “faithful” be the adjective that immediately jumps to your mind about this critical discipline? Why or why not? And . . . what are you going to do about it?

 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #39 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 11

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 12.

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, and to be joyful in hope! Whew!

The eleventh critical imperative is —11. Believers are to BE PATIENT IN AFFLICTION (v. 12)!

Ok. Truth time. I don’t care for affliction. Whether it is criticism (deserved or undeserved), athlete’s foot, heart surgery, or a devastating loss in tennis — I don’t really like affliction. None of us do. But we are guaranteed suffering in this world. [For a discussion of our poor theology of suffering, take a look at our post found here.]

Here our critical imperative is to be patient in affliction. Why “patient”? Because I (and, I presume, you) want suffering and affliction O-V-E-R! We want to move on to a state of non-affliction! Right now. And it may be that Paul has in mind affliction over which we have no control. We can’t stop it or avoid it or somehow ignore it. So, we have the option of being patient IN it. And that’s a great reason to drop to our knees and . . . pray (which will be our next critical imperative).

Today’s Challenge: How would you fill in the following blank? “Right now, in my life, I am going through the following affliction: _____________________. And I can’t stop it or avoid it or ignore it. BUT, I can, by God’s grace, be PATIENT in it.

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #38 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 10

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 11.

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, and to keep one’s spiritual fervor!

The tenth critical imperative is —10. Believers are TO BE JOYFUL IN HOPE! (v. 12)

I don’t know about you, but a joyful Christian is an arresting advertisement for the gospel! And we are to be “joyful in hope.” What does that mean? Our present circumstances do not necessarily give us joy. Nor does thinking about our past, especially our failures, provide us happiness. Our JOY is in the Lord and in what He is going to do in the future! Ours is a hope-starved world. Although some may suffer from biological or chemical depression, the normal Christian life is to be one of JOY!

Today’s Challenge: Would you describe yourself as a JOYFUL follower of Jesus? What is producing JOY in you? Is it your JOY in the HOPE of God using you in this world?

 

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #37 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 9

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 11.

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, and to honor one another beyond yourselves!

The ninth critical imperative is —9. Believers are TO KEEP THEIR SPIRITUAL FERVOR AND ZEAL! (v. 11)

We live in a world of zeal-killers! We do. We are plagued by entertainment media which numbs our minds and dulls our energies. We are, often because of our own choices, anesthetized to our purpose on planet earth. We fail to keep the main thing the main thing. And we Christians are frequently emotionless, passion-less, and lethargic when it comes to the people of God. Now, aren’t you glad you’ve read my post this morning?

What’s the answer? Keep your spiritual fervor! Why? Because we serve the Lord God of the universe! We have every reason to seize every day with godly enthusiasm and purpose. But we choose to keep or not keep our spiritual fervor.

Today’s Challenge: What is the reading, right now, on your spiritual fervor gauge? The word “enthusiasm” literally means “in God.” Are you?

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #36 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 8

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 10.

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, and to be devoted to the body in love!

The eighth critical imperative is —8. Believers are TO HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE THEMSELVES! (v. 10)

What does it actually mean to honor someone? We are to show them respect, care about what they care about, give them the benefit of the doubt. It sounds a bit strange to say to someone, “I honor you.” What is involved in honoring someone? Here’s a brief survey of that term in the Scriptures with my summary at the end:

√Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
√Psalm 8:5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
√Psalm 22:23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
√Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
√√Psalm 91:15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
√Proverbs 14:31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
√Matthew 15:8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
√Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”
√John 5:23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
√Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
√Romans 13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
√1 Corinthians 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
√2 Corinthians 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ.
√Philippians 2:29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him,
√1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
√ Fathers and mothers are singled out to be honored. God has crowned the human being with glory and honor in his creation. The Lord gives favor and honor to those whose walk is blameless. God promises to deliver and honor the one who calls on Him. Honor is withheld in a familiar setting like home or country or among one’s relatives. We are to seek glory and honor and immortality. We are to give honor to those who are owed honor. We can be an honor to Christ in the churches. We are to welcome servants of Christ with great joy and to honor such people. Elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor (= financial support?). We are to honor the emperor (= government officials). 1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Hebrews 2:7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor
√Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
√2 Peter 1:17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
√Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Revelation 5:12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

A Summary:

What does it mean to honor God? The term “honor” is used interchangeably with the word “praise.” One action which honors God is to be kind to the needy. It is possible to honor God with one’s lips but one’s heart is far away from Him. We are to honor the Son as we honor the Father. Not honoring the Son = not honoring the Father. We are to honor God with our bodies. Our praise should include honor and glory for ever and ever to God. Christ is now crowned with glory and honor because of His sacrificial death. Christ received honor and glory from God the Father at His transfiguration. God is worthy to receive glory and honor and power because of His creation work. It is the Lamb who is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.

What does it mean to honor other human beings? Fathers and mothers are singled out to be honored. God has crowned the human being with glory and honor in his creation. The Lord gives favor and honor to those whose walk is blameless. God promises to deliver and honor the one who calls on Him. Honor is withheld in a familiar setting like home or country or among one’s relatives. We are to seek glory and honor and immortality. We are to give honor to those who are owed honor. We can be an honor to Christ in the churches. We are to welcome servants of Christ with great joy and to honor such people. Elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor (= financial support?). We are to honor the emperor (= government officials).

Conclusion: God honors faithful servant-leaders and we are to do the same. We owe honor to those who faithfully serve the Lord. Honor involves praise, recognition, and, perhaps, even monetary support. And Paul tells us to “honor others above ourselves.”

Today’s Challenge: Which servant-leader deserves to be honored by you? And what steps will you take to fulfill that challenge?

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #35 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 7

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 10.

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, and to hate as God hates!

The seventh critical imperative is —7. The believer is TO BE DEVOTED TO THE BODY IN LOVE! (v. 10)

What exactly does it mean to be devoted to one another in love? Well, we learn in Acts 2:42 that the early church was devoted to four priorities as they met together: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” But were they devoted to each other?

The answer, of course, is YES! And they showed their devotion to other believers by praying for each other, suffering persecution with each other, financially supporting each other, even rebuking each other (one thinks of Paul’s rebuke of Peter in the book of Galatians!). Such devotion requires TIME, ENERGY, WISDOM, INVOLVEMENT, COMPASSION, BOLDNESS, etc.

Today’s Challenge: Can you honestly say that you are devoted to other believers in love? How do you show that devotion? Be specific. And then look for additional ways to express your affection for another in Christ.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #34 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 6

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 9.

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, and to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ.

The sixth critical imperative is —6. The believer is to HATE! (v. 9)

The topic of HATRED is seldom studied in the Scriptures. God hates. And godly people are to hate. Really! Here is the biblical evidence:

VERSES OF GOD HATING:

Psalm 5:5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;
Psalm 11:5 The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
Proverbs 6:16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
Isaiah 1:14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
Hosea 9:15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.
Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.
Zechariah 8:17 “do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
Malachi 1:3 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

VERSES OF OUR HATING:

Ecclesiastes 3:8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Psalm 31:6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord.
Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Psalm 97:10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 119:113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.
Psalm 139:21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
Proverbs 8:13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
John 12:25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Revelation 2:6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

A SUMMARY OF THIS ISSUE OF HATE!

We must recognize that just as there is godly pride and godly jealousy, there is also a kind of godly hatred! The Bible teaches that God hates those who do wrong; He hates “with a passion” those who love violence. Seven sins are hated by the Lord (and the seventh He really detests). God hates “with all [His] being” Israel’s empty New Moon feasts and appointed festivals.

God says of His people Israel in Hosea, “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there.” Again He shows His contempt for His people’s religious emptiness when He says, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.” God hates the sin of those who plot evil against another and who love to swear falsely. We learn in Malachi of the Lord saying, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.”

It’s one thing for God to hate, but are we too as well? Yes! There is “a time to hate,” says Ecclesiastes. The Psalmist says he hates those who cling to worthless idols, that those who love the Lord should hate evil. He says he hates double-minded people and declares, “Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?” In fact, the very definition of fearing the Lord, according to Proverbs is “to hate evil.” Amos tells us that we are to “hate evil, love good.”

Amazingly, in Luke Jesus says that one must hate his family . . . or he cannot be Christ’s disciple. He actually tells us to hate our own life so that we will gain eternal life. The Apostle Paul looks at his life and says that he doesn’t do what he should and hates what he does do! Believers are commanded in Romans 12 to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (very similar to Amos’ statement).

Obviously in some of these passages the Lord Jesus is using hyperbole, an exaggeration for effect. But figures of speech (like hyperbole) are used when “normal” language doesn’t suffice. Feeling intense animosity against those things that God hates is one aspect of the Christian life that we have missed. Perhaps we have overemphasized our understanding of His “love” to our own detriment.

Today’s Challenge: What should you actively HATE today? Why? And how will you express that godly hatred?

 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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