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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Romans 12:9-21 – Practising Genuine Love

Obviously the range of responses listed by Paul in this passage describes a beautiful and a desirable way of life. The question is, How do we become like this? Surprisingly, the answer is not difficult to deduce, although it may be demanding to practice. The answer requires us to use the ordinary means of grace.
First, we have to make this way of life a priority in our prayers. Here we have described by Paul the beauty of a holy life. We should pray those details for ourselves and for others in our fellowship. It is not judgemental to pray that others will have them and it is spiritual laziness not to bother. And if we don’t pray for them regarding ourselves, then we will not have them.
Second, read about the wonderful life of Jesus and see where and when and why he lived out the items in the list. Take each of them individually and ask if there is an example of Jesus doing this. And when we see them in him we will see how we can have them because they describe Christlikeness.
Third, we should learn from watching other Christians and how they react according to this standard. Our problem is often that we have our own standard for what others should do, and that standard is not what the Bible requires. Every true Christian lives this way to a certain degree, and therefore we should not ask, ‘What faults does he have?’ Instead we should ask, ‘What graces does he show?’
Fourth, we should note that a failure to live according to these requirements of genuine love grieves the Holy Spirit. This means that we should exhort those who are not living in this way to repent and confess their flaws. And when someone points out our defects to us we should listen and go to God about it. We should not respond by excusing ourselves and say that their presence is genetic, family traits handed done to us. We now belong to a different family, where the expectations are different.

Here we have another passage that shows the priority of love. Without love we are nothing, but with this love in action we will have fellowship with God, will become like Jesus, and will affect those we come in contact with.

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