1 I beseech you therefore,
brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your
mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect,
will of God.
Paul beseeches or makes a special plea
and request of his brethren in the Lord. He asks them to do something very
important. He urges them to make a presentation to God. That which ought
to be presented was themselves, their very own bodies as sacrifices unto
God. Notice he urges that they be living sacrifices. Someone has said that
the only thing more noble than dying for the Lord would be living for the
Lord. God wants people to live lives according to His will. He wants everyone
to deny themselves, and follow the Savior. This is what Paul calls for
these brethren to do. They are to set themselves apart, consecrate, and
devote themselves unto the acceptable service of God.
The King James Version says "reasonable"
service, and the American Standard Version says "spiritual" service. I
find no conflict in these varied renditions, but rather a complement to
each other. Such rendering gives tremendous aid in understanding what is
spiritual. For something to be reasonable means it must appeal to the mind
or intellect of man. Serving God is rational and intelligent. The human
heart, the mind, must be reached and converted. Man has the power to reason
and weigh evidence. Service to God is service that results from an intelligent
consideration of the evidence and the formation of the conviction that
serving God is what ought be done. When a man serves God with his mind,
and from conviction, in an intelligent fashion, and according to the directions
of the Holy Spirit, that is spiritual service. Sometimes people have confused
that which is almost entirely emotional with that which is spiritual. Many
artificial environmental aids and gimmicks have been used to arouse the
carnal emotions of people during various religious exercises, and those
who have been so led are sometimes heard to say that their experience was
so "spiritual." Such is not spiritual, Biblically speaking. That which
is spiritual is not based upon emotion, but upon revelation, and intelligent
understanding. Reasonable service, that which appeals to the intellect
of man, as guided by the Holy Spirit though the Word, is spiritual service.
When the Word of God conveys a message to the mind of man, and convinces
man of a certain course of action, and man follows that course of action
because his mind has been so convinced with the evidence of the Word, that
is reasonable or spiritual service. One can well be aroused emotionally,
even to the point of hysterics, and never be spiritual or spiritually minded
as the Bible used the term. Our sacrifice of ourselves must result in spiritual
service, rational, intelligent, with understanding and conviction.
Having now given a positive instruction,
Paul also gives a negative instruction. Christians are not to follow the
sinful ways of the world, nor follow the multitude to do evil. Christians
are not to let the world set his pace, or determine his standards. While
in many things a Christian can conform to what is around him, there are
certain limits beyond which he cannot, and will not, go regardless of what
the rest of the world about him does. There is no value in being different
or a non-conformist simply to be one, or to attract unwarranted attention
to oneself. But the Christian is expected to be a different person because
of his relationship to God through Christ. His attitudes and actions will
differ from those embroiled in sin, and caught up with what "everybody's
doing." Of course, not everybody is doing anything, but often it seems
that most are going a certain way, and the Christian is tempted to go along.
But the Christian is a person who thinks before he acts, and his thoughts
are always centered on what Christ would have him do in all circumstances.
Sometimes it seems one of the hardest lessons for Christians to learn is
to be wary of imitating the world, following the world, and allowing the
world to determine his conduct, dress, manner of speech, goals, ideals,
values and habits. Rather than allowing himself to be guided by the Lord's
way, he allows himself to be molded by the world. But the Christian is
one who is transformed, changed, and different. This transformation and
conversion comes by the mind being changed, and actions based on the conviction
of the mind. The mind is renewed. The heart is converted. As stated above,
the intellect of man is convinced and persuaded. The doctrine of Christ
makes its prime appeal to that part of man that thinks. The transformation
or conversion that makes one a Christian means he no longer seeks the way
of the sinful world, but by changing his mind, and accepting the doctrine
of Jesus Christ, he is made distinctive and different.
Once transformed, the Christian proves
(puts to the test and demonstrates) God's will. He is expected to show
what the will of the Lord is by the life that he lives. The gospel is to
be preached by word, to be sure. But the way of truth is to be lived, demonstrated,
Take note that the will of God is
described as being good, acceptable, and perfect. These are the terms,
therefore, that ought to describe our lives as we demonstrate the will
of God. To the extent our lives are not so described, to that extent there
is room for growth. We must not fail to demonstrate to the world how God
would have all men everywhere to live.
It would seem that it goes without
belaboring further that one would find it impossible to live and demonstrate
in life the will of God if he should refuse to give himself completely
as a living sacrifice to the Lord. Having given oneself to the Lord, one
is able, with God's help and spiritual growth, to live the kind of life
that brings glory to God (Matthew 5:16).
3 For I say, through
the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of
himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according
as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Paul writes not as one who is giving his
own ideas or perceptions, but as he is directed and guided by the Lord.
He so expresses this in the phrase, "through the grace given unto me."
The grace of which he speaks is his apostleship to which he referred in
chapter one, verse five. What he is saying is, therefore, the Word of God.
The instruction of this verse is for
every Christian. It strikes at the temptation to consider oneself more
than he ought to consider himself. It strikes down the attitude of pride
and conceit. It urges a sense of humility, and calls for a recognition
of one's own limitations and inabilities. It is the concept presented by
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount that one should be "poor in spirit." Much
of this world's ills are caused by people who are too self-centered, too
conscious of themselves, and who rate themselves more highly than they
ought. Possibly, we all are inclined to do this, or are tempted to do so.
Paul is not denouncing legitimate self-respect, but condemning conceit
Furthermore, he calls for sober thinking,
and discreet consideration of life. The person who is enamored with himself
will not likely be able to think clearly and properly on any matter, especially
if it pertains to him, because he will always have the cloud of pride between
him and true wisdom. To be sure, we are not all endowed with the same capacities,
physically or mentally. But each shall be responsible for whatever capacity
he has, and whatever that is must be governed by a humble and sober mind.
We are justified in thinking that
the phrase, "according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith,"
to mean the presentation of the standard by which we govern our thinking.
In other words, we are to think like the faith would have us think. Paul
shows us two standards. One is incorrect, and the other is correct. The
incorrect one is according to our personal pride. The correct one is according
to what has come from God.
4 For as we have many
members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we,
being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,
whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on
teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him
do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth
mercy, with cheerfulness.
Building upon the admonition given in
verse three, Paul reminds those in Christ of the oneness and unity that
abides among us. We are all of the same family, the same body, servants
of the same God, and we all have been saved by the same Christ. Regardless
of ancestral or national background, those in Christ are simply different
members of the same body. This very thought ought make us considerate of
every other member of the body. There is something very wrong with a body
where one member of it seeks the harm of another member, or fails to cooperate
with the other members in their particular functions for the overall good
of the entire body. Paul alludes here to the body to picture the relationship
of one Christian to other Christians, and drives toward the goal of showing
practical reasons why we ought follow the teaching of verse three. Just
as the physical body has many members, and every member does not have the
same function or office to perform, the same is true of the body of Christ.
First Corinthians twelve brings out these very truths explicitly. Together,
we make up the body of Christ. The term "body" is the very term used in
other passages to define the Lord's church (Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians
1:18). We are, therefore, related, and are one of another.
We have differing talents, and whatever
talent we have ought be used properly, and to the best advantage for all
concerned. Let me insert here that it is very possible that Paul includes
the use of spiritual gifts, miraculous gifts, that some in the early church
did possess. It is not sure that anyone in Rome had such gifts at the time
Paul wrote this letter, although it is possible that some did. Whatever
be that situation, Paul hoped to visit them and grant them such gifts,
as noted in chapter one, verse eleven. Here is a regulation of these gifts,
if ever and whenever, such gifts were given them. Certainly, the use of
those abilities would be included in this teaching, but we would not conclude
it referred only to the use of miraculous gifts. The principle taught would
embrace the use of whatever contribution or talent each one could offer
to the advantage of the whole body.
If one could prophesy (used here in
the sense of teaching rather than foretelling the future), let him do it
according to the faith he had, and the understanding of the faith he possessed.
If one was given to performing certain services (termed here ministry),
let him tend to that the best he could. Let the one who teaches tend to
his teaching. The one who can best exhort, let him emphasize that ability.
The one who gives, may he do so with simplicity, meaning sincerity and
honesty. The one who rules, which would certainly have reference to the
leaders of the church, let them rule with diligence by giving the work
of leadership their genuine and complete concern. The one who shows mercy,
let him do so with cheerfulness, not as if he merely had to be merciful,
but because he truly wanted to be merciful, and was glad for the opportunity
to show mercy.
What Paul is expressing is understandable
enough. With everyone working together, each doing his part to the fullest,
great and lasting good would result. Such oneness makes for a wonderful
fellowship in Christ.
9 Let love be without
dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour
preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit;
serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing
instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to
In this paragraph we are introduced to
several short, simple, and very direct commandments and practical admonitions
in living the Christian life, especially our relationship with brethren.
It should go without much comment that love (seeking the highest good of
the other) ought to abide and abound among brethren. It is most unfortunate
when there is evidence that each is not seeking the good of the other,
and love is not present. Surely, God is highly displeased when brethren
are of such evil dispositions and attitudes toward one another.
But this love is to be genuine, not
pretended or feigned, "without dissimulation." People can smother you with
words of sweetness and kindness, and not really mean a word of it. It is
not altogether unknown for people to "sweet talk" you to your face and
tear you apart behind your back. This is the kind of thing Paul says should
never be among brethren. Let there be love among the brethren, and let
it be true and real like God wants it to be.
The Christian must learn to hate some
things. "Abhor" is one of the strongest terms that can be used to denote
disapproval. God "hates" some things (Proverbs 6:16-19). Surely, the child
of God ought to learn to hate what his heavenly Father hates. God hates
that which is evil. Something is wrong if the Christian does not learn
to hate, abhor, and despise whatever is contrary to the will of God.
We must ever keep in mind that there
is a difference between hating sin, and hating the sinner. The first we
are to do, but the second we are never to do. Christ hated sin, but loved
the sinner. He did not approve of the sinner in his sins, but He still
loved the sinner, even while hating the sin that condemned the sinner He
loved. So must be the attitude of His followers.
But just taking a negative attitude
toward sin is not all that God expects of a Christian. In addition to hating
sin, Christians should learn to hold fast, "cleave," to that which is good.
Life cannot be lived in a vacuum. Our lives will be filled with either
good or evil. While driving out the evil, we must fill our lives with good.
If we do not do this, evil will come and reoccupy our lives (Matthew 12:43-45).
In verse nine, Paul gives us a do and a don't like he did in verse one.
There is a positive and negative side to serving God. Emphasis on one to
the neglect of the other will make our service lopsided, distorted, and
unacceptable before God.
Paul returns to the idea of brotherly
affection one for another in verse ten. Here the word translated "kindly
affectioned" comes from the Greek word storge, one of the three words in
the Greek New Testament that conveys the idea of love in the English language.
It gives emphasis to the family relationship we have in Christ. While each
member of the family truly seeks to please the Father of the family, we
must also learn to love one another, because we realize the Father loves
every member of the family. Christians are God's spiritual family (First
Timothy 3:15). It is only natural and proper that we love our Father. Therefore,
it follows automatically that we ought to have brotherly love for each
other because of the Father's love for all.
This love is to be put into practice.
It demands selflessness. It requires putting the consideration of the other
before consideration of self. It means seeking the other's best interest
before your own. It means having preference for the other's welfare before
your own. Often men find this difficult to practice, but never is it wrong,
but always right, to behave toward each other in this manner. The more
such a disposition among brethren exists, the greater the chance of tranquility
and peace abiding among them. Brethren will cooperate more, work together
better, and be far more likely to fulfill their mission on earth in God's
The teaching of verse eleven exhorts
the Christian in two ways toward the same goal. (1) The Christian is to
be energetic and active as far as he is capable. He is to be diligent as
he goes about his tasks that are honorable and beneficial. (2) He is not
to be a person who is lazy and irresponsible, but one who serves the Lord
and his fellowman with a zest and zeal that marks him as a child of God.
Whatever task he undertakes, he is to do it with all his might, believing
in what he is doing, and doing it like he knows the worth of it. Solomon
wrote similarly in Ecclesiastes 9:10, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,
do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge,
nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
Verse twelve continues with expressions
of the attitudes of practical use that are to be found in the heart of
the Christian. The child of God has more reason to rejoice than any other
person on earth. After all, he belongs to God. He is in the right spiritual
relationship with his Creator and Judge. His sins are forgiven him and
he is saved. He is on his way to heaven. Why should he not rejoice? He
has a hope, and this hope burns within his heart. It enables him to face
hardships and tribulations with patience and stedfastness. He does not
buckle under when hard times come because he has hope, and he has the quality
of perseverance. All the while he realizes his dependence on God. He knows
he is not self-sufficient. Therefore, he reflects this recognition of dependence
by constant prayer.
The Christian life, so amply defined
in the verses of chapter twelve, does not confine itself to attitude. Already,
in verses four through eight, we have seen the need for cooperative action.
Verse nine through verse eleven includes action and attitude. The Christian
is mindful of those who are less fortunate than he. He distributes, gives
to the necessary provision, of those who lack. While this passage asserts
his attentiveness to the needs of the saints, which must always take priority,
his concern for those outside the body of Christ is amply taught in such
passages as Galatians 6:10, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do
good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
The same lesson is taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan, by the
examples of Jesus, and others. Always, however, the Christian is more concerned
for the welfare of his brothers and sisters in the Lord than anyone else.
This trait of character will call
upon him to share what he has. He will show concern for others. He will
manifest the unselfishness that he has learned as a part of following his
Lord. He is one given to hospitality. This idea is more than just "having
company," but is a kindred statement to the preceding one. Those who are
strangers and sojourners that have need will also find a place in the Christian's
concern. His provisions are open to the use of those in need.
14 Bless them which
persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice,
and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another.
Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise
in your own conceits.
Continuing certain teaching designed to
make the Christian a Christ-like person, Paul takes cognizance of something
the early Christians knew first hand, and which all those who live godly
in Christ Jesus can expect. There is persecution to suffer (Second Timothy
3:12). There will ever be those who will deride the Christian because of
his faith and convictions regarding the Lord Jesus Christ. Persecution
is not a stranger, nor a strange thing, to those who serve the Lord (First
Peter 4:12). Yet, the attitude the Christian has toward those who seek
his harm is so different from the action men generally manifest toward
those who seek harm. Whereas others curse the Christian, the Christian
is not obliged to curse them in return. Rather, he will seek to bless such
people. While this takes more courage and character than to respond with
curses when cursed, it is the way the Lord reacted, and He wants His followers
to react as He did. This does not preclude certain personal safeguards
and protection of self that God allows, which shall be considered when
we discuss chapter thirteen. But the attitude of blessing rather than cursing
is that which is to be found in the heart of the child of God.
From verse fifteen it is obvious that
the Christian heart is sympathetic and understanding. We may often be called
upon to weep with those who are in sorrow. We do not usually find this
to be very difficult if there is any compassion whatever in the heart.
Pitiable indeed is that person who cannot be grieved when another is brought
low due to sorrow and tragedy that causes him to weep. Surely, we ought
be able to feel sorry for people in any kind of trouble. While it may well
be true that they are receiving their "just desserts," and reaping as they
have sown, it is no cause for rejoicing, but only cause for sorrow, to
realize that others suffer heartache and heartbreak. So many things can,
and do, happen in the course of the lives of human beings that bring sadness
and pain that seemingly are unavoidable. Can we not weep with those who
But the first part of the verse also
teaches the Christian to rejoice with those who rejoice. The only thing
that would keep one from rejoicing over the good fortunes of another is
jealousy. Possibly sometimes people cannot truly be glad that another has
received good fortune and prosperity because they wish it had happened
to them. Certainly, it is not wrong that we could want good things to come
our way, but it is truly wrong to fail to be glad when good things come
the way of others. Rather than being jealous and envious we ought rejoice
when others succeed in what is right and honorable. Whether one succeeds
in some worthy goal or accomplishment, or whether in the greater realms
of becoming and being a child of God, we ought to be made glad when things
go well with others. Such is the Christian way of doing things. This is
the Christian way of thinking.
Unity is another trait that is urged
upon the Christian in verse sixteen. Be of the same mind and think alike.
To think alike, people must have the same measure by which to measure their
thinking. Possessing the same values is necessary in order to be of the
same mind. Christians may not always have the same values in all matters
of a secular nature because of differing interests, talents, and tastes.
But these matters are relatively unimportant. But when it comes to matters
of the spirit, when it is a matter of serving God, when it comes to submission
of the human will to the will of Jehovah, Christians are to think alike.
If they do not, one, or possibly both, are in error. When they think correctly
they will think alike, and be of the same mind. This is an essential quality
tending toward essential unity. Unity of mind is essential to Christian
unity in matters of God's revealed Word.
We are also admonished, "mind not
high things." This has reference to seeking the glory and praise of the
men of this world. Men often will seek the grand and glorious according
to worldly standards, and in doing so, lose their souls. The "great things"
of this life pale into relative insignificance in comparison with the things
of the life to come. So often men are willing to be "great," or be given
some "great" assignment and recognition. But they despise the lowly and
more humble aspects of service. They seek the "high things" for their own
conceited ambitions. Often those who quietly and unpretentiously go about
doing their tasks faithfully without fanfare are neither recognized nor
appreciated as they ought to be, except by the Lord. But that is what counts
after all. Being "the big hen in the pen" is not always the best thing.
"Top man on the totem pole" should not be our goal. To sit at the head
of the table should not be our prime interest. Certainly, such ambitions
are not to be allowed to provoke neglect of those of lowly estate, or cause
one to turn away from serving them. Again, there is this teaching through
Paul toward genuine humility and sacrifice of self and selfish ambitions.
The teaching to "be not wise in your
own conceits" is so much like the teaching in verse three, "not to think
of himself more highly than he ought to think." You have heard it said
that some people have the "big head," meaning they really think they have
the world by the tail and they are the last word in perfection. Such an
attitude surely does not commend itself, and does not exemplify the character
God wants among His people.
What glorious traits Paul has urged
upon the Christian! Let us not minimize the importance, nor think for a
moment, that these qualities are to become ours in a single day or with
a single bound. They are qualities of character that will likely occupy
a lifetime to acquire and develop. We can never think that we have attained,
but must keep working more and more toward their development.
Verses 17, 18
17 Recompense to no
man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If
it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
One of the outstanding characteristics
of being a Christian is the imitation of Christ in not seeking the harm,
but seeking the good for all those around you, even those who have done
you evil. The Christian is not the kind of person who feels he must "even
the score" and get revenge when someone has mistreated him. Instead of
evil in return for evil, the child of God seeks to do what is honorable
in the sight of all men.
The Christian is not a person who
seeks conflict. Instead, he would much prefer to avoid conflict, and live
in peace with those around him. While it is true that those who will live
godly lives shall suffer persecution (Second Timothy 3:12), and while it
is true and cannot be denied that those who want to live godly lives will
always be in antagonism with those who wish to live contrary to God's will
(Second Corinthians 10:4-6), this conflict is neither the making, desire,
nor preference of the Christian. This conflict is imposed upon him. He
cannot compromise his convictions for a moment even to live in peace with
others, but his attitude and disposition toward others is that of peace,
as far as is possible. Short of denying his duties to God or compromising
the truth, he will try to get along "peaceably" with everyone, doing what
men consider honorable.
At the same time, he knows that peace
with God is the peace that matters. He will not sacrifice that peace in
order to have peace with anybody. He will never be the kind of person who
is willing to "go along with error" to "get along with others."
19 Dearly beloved, avenge
not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance
is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger,
feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap
coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil
Paul urges his brethren not to take matters
of revenge into their own hands. One thing the Christian knows that others
do not accept is that ultimately the right shall be victorious over the
wrong. Satan cannot win the great conflict, but God shall be victorious,
and those who are with God shall be victors as well. Therefore, we should
not seek to settle all matters against evil in this life. Indeed, we cannot,
and it is not within our power to do so. But in the long run of things
and in the final analysis we shall be avenged and shall enjoy the spiritual
victory in Christ. Instead of taking vengeance against those who do us
harm, instead of trying to "get them back" for what they have done, instead
of seeking as much or more evil for them than they have sought for us,
we are to "give place unto wrath."
Many have confused this last phrase,
"give place unto wrath," by concluding that we are to simply, passively,
timidly, idly sit by and allow the evildoer a free and unrestricted hand
in doing whatever he wishes. This passage is not teaching the Christian
to submit to the wrath of the evildoer, but to acquiesce to the wrath of
God against the evildoer rather than attempting to handle the evildoer
alone. In other words, the Christian is to give place to the wrath of God
against the evildoer rather than take it upon himself to mete out revenge
against the evildoer on his own. The reason that such a course is the proper
one is because the Lord has said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith
the Lord." This matter of vengeance does not belong to the Christian, but
is a matter that lies in the hands of God to mediate as He sees fit and
when He sees fit. (We shall learn that one instrument of God in rendering
vengeance on the evildoer is the long and powerful arm of civil authority,
as is taught in chapter thirteen.)
Instead of vengeance, the Christian's
attitude and action is to be one of rendering good for evil, as already
suggested in verse seventeen. Rather than doing harm, even to an enemy,
Christians are to be ready to assist and help should opportunity afford.
This kind of reaction toward the evildoer
and toward the one who has offended the Christian would "heap coals of
fire on his head." I take this great and oft-repeated phrase to mean that
this Christ-like kind of benevolent attitude on the part of the Christian
would burn out the animosity the persecutor might have against the Christian.
It would make the enemy ashamed. It would cause him, by appealing in a
very distinct manner, to his sense of compassion, if there was any such
sense within him, to relent and discontinue imposing the hardships he was
placing upon the Christian. This kind of benevolent response would be more
practical, beneficial, and would likely obtain the desired result of release
from persecution than fighting back and getting even, which thing the Christian
could not do because such vengeance is reserved by the Lord for Himself.
It is wise to mention here that God
is not unjust in heaping vengeance against the evildoer, but rather justice
demands that such be done, or God would no longer be a just God. It is,
therefore, not a matter whether the enemy or persecutor ought be dealt
with and handled and the matter settled. The enemy deserves being punished.
It is a matter of who is going to administer the wrath against the enemy.
Paul says God would attend to that rather than the Christian, personally,
and on his own.
There was, and is, the very strong
likelihood that being the recipient of hardships from the hands of enemies
crush the Christian, or so provoke him that he would react in such a fashion
that would cause his own condemnation. Recognizing the most tempting reaction
to be retaliation (to be distinguished from self-defense), Paul urges the
Christian to rise above that level of conduct and not be overcome by the
evil, but so conduct himself that the good he would perform would overcome
Admittedly, this may prove to be one
of the most difficult obligations that the Christian has to perform in
his service to Christ. When one is wronged, the most natural thing that
comes to mind is to "not let him get away with it." But as stated before,
the Christian knows (because God has told him through His Word) that the
wrongdoer will "not get away with it" at all, but the Christian is to leave
the settling of the matter, and the retaliation, in the hands of God. This
requires great faith and patience on the part of the Christian who is being
mistreated. Especially difficult it may be to obey when everything necessary
to utterly destroy the enemy is at you disposal, which is often the case.
He has probably left himself vulnerable. The temptation to strike back
may be strong. But the obligation to refrain from doing so is imposed.
The Christian is not the kind of person who seeks harm, but who seeks to
help. This requires of him forbearance from doing what men otherwise might
do with regard to their enemies and opponents.
This chapter is without question one
of the great chapters of the new covenant of Jesus Christ with respect
to daily conduct and Christian demeanor. If those who profess to follow
the Lord could and would study and apply this chapter to their lives, even
when difficulties are presented against them, maybe I should say especially
when difficulties are presented against them, the cause of Christ would
be observed to have an influence on the church, and on the world, that
would make for a better world in which to live. It would promote the influence
of Christ. The obligations of this chapter cannot be taken lightly, but
must be considered with the weightiest degree of seriousness.
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