Three Broad Principles That Are to Govern the Christian’s Life
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Romans 12:9 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Review & Outline
Romans 12:9 gives us three broad principles that are to govern every Christian’s life.
In previous messages we have looked at…
There are several different Greek words translated love in the Bible. First, there is the Greek word filew/phileo, (fil-eh'-o; 5368; see John 21:17). This word indicates a strong friendship. This is not the word used in Romans 12:9. Then there is the love of family. The Greek word for family love is storgov/storgos (stor-gos) and it is only used in the negative form in the New Testament (indicating being without natural affection or family love; Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3). This is not the love in focus. Greek word translated love in our passage is agaph/agape (ag-ah'-pay; 26). Agape love indicates a choice of the will to find one’s joy in something. Further, it includes a genuine, unselfish love and concern.
That brings us to the word dissimulation. This is a word that we seldom use anymore. Today we would use the word deception or pretending. That’s exactly what the Greek word anupokritov /anupokritos (an-oo-pok'-ree-tos; 505) means. To state it positively, love is to be genuine! D. L. Moody of professing Christians who talked love but did not back it up with actions – "They are talking cream and living skimmed milk."
So how can a person obey Paul’s instruction? I believe the Apostle John gives us some real help in this area. He wrote, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18 Genuine love is MORE than words! It includes loving actions.
This genuine love, spoken of in this verse, is to be viewed, in the largest and most comprehensive sense, including love of God (Matthew 22:37;), love of Christ (John 14:15), the love of fellow believers (1 Peter 1:22), and even love for the unsaved (Matthew 22:39). The believers love ought, with respect to each, to "be without dissimulation"; or "hypocrisy." It should not be pretend but real.
The word abhor is a translation of the Greek word apostugew apostugeo (ap-os-toog-eh'-o;655) is a very strong word and means the greatest aversion and hatred imaginable, a turning away from it, as something that is the most loathsome, detestable, and abominable. In this case that hatred is to be of evil or wickedness. The word for evil, ponhrov poneros (pon-ay-ros';4190) which refers to evil in the moral or spiritual sense. It means evil that corrupts and is hurtful.
As the preacher says in Ecclesiastes says, there is "a time to hate." If you are going to be a good Christian, you need to be a good hater of the right things. Why? Because we are instructed in Psalms 97:10 -- "Ye that love the LORD, hate evil..." We need to learn to hate sin. David learned this truth. He wrote -- Psalms 119:104 & 128 "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way." But, Christians are not to be satisfied with hating evil and abstaining from it. We are to go a step further.
In this message we will look at the final broad principle that is to govern the believer’s life…
Let’s look more closely at our Scripture passage. The word translated cleave is a translation of the Greek word kollaw, kollao (kol-lah'-o; 2853) which means to glue, to glue together, cement, fasten together firmly, to be joined to or to join one’s self to. As believers, we are to be inseparably joined together to good. The word good is a translation of the Greek word agayov agathos (ag-ath-os'; 18), which refers to that which is upright, virtuous, or honorable. The life of a believer is to show a "pattern of good works" according to Titus 2:7.
If you have a coin in your pocket, take it out and look at it. I have in my hand a penny. Every time I look at the front of a penny that has been minted in my lifetime I see the same thing. I see Abraham Lincoln’s head. Why? Because all the dies at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco mints that make the money have been engraved with his head on them. So when the pennies are pressed, they come out with his head on them.
Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with showing a "pattern of good works" in Titus 2:7. Let me tell you. The Greek word translated "pattern" means struck or stamped with a die. Here’s the application. Just as every time you look at the front of a penny and see Lincoln’s head, so every time someone looks at a believer they are to see good works!
Let me ask you a question. When others looked at your life this past month, what did they see? Did they see good or did they see bad? They should see a "pattern of good works!" Our lives are to be as consistent as the front of a penny!
Paul is not the only one who instructs believers on the issue of good and evil. 1 Peter 3:10-12 says, "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew (go out of your way to avoid) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."
The verse is clear. God rewards good and judges evil!
Goodness is to be the pattern or the impress of the believer’s life! It is to characterize a Christian’s behavior (Romans 2:6-7), service (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:10), thinking (Philippians 4:8), talking (Ephesians 4:29; Titus 2:8), teaching (Titus 2:3) and conscience (1 Timothy 1:5 & 19).
Our primer for good behavior is the Bible. We are to study the Bible for within this God breathed book we will discover what is really good. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
So, how should a believer respond to a fellow believer whose life is not characterized by a pattern of good works? Paul answers that in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-16. We are to exhort that person to get his or her life in order and note that person and not associate with him or her. Why? It is because God known that evil companions corrupt good morals (see 1 Corinthians 15:33). If you are living in sin my Christian friend, remember the words of Proverbs 13:15 "…the way of transgressors is hard." Romans 2:6-11 should also be read thoughtfully.
Finally, I want to take you back to a sentence that I spoke earlier. God rewards good and judges evil. This truth is affirmed in the Old Testament. It is clearly seen in Proverbs 11:4-11. Likewise, this is affirmed in the New Testament. We see it clearly reflected in Galatians 6:7-10. It is further conveyed in 2 Peter 2:4-9.
If you want the blessing of God in your life, first, you need to trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Then, you need to live for him.
Our text was Romans 12:9 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."