At the end of the 12th chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul gives us a rapid fire behavior checklist.
At this point in Romans, Paul has spent a lengthy time explaining salvation.
- In chapter 12 he opens by urging us to be “living sacrifices” for God and to use our God-given spiritual gifts to serve the Lord.
- In typical Paul fashion, he cuts to the chase, and follows with a no-nonsense list of behaviors that are befitting a “living sacrifice”.
Let love be without hypocrisy.
- True love is not selfish, it is not done to benefit “self”; it is done to benefit others without expectation of repayment or reciprocation.
- Things done in love are without selfishness, hidden agendas or strings attached
- 1 Corinthians 13:4–13 (NKJV) 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Abhor what is evil.
- Hate sin. Why? Because sin is opposite of the God who created you and the Savior who died for you.
- Proverbs 6:16–19 (NKJV) 16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
Sin destroys lives. Sin causes people to go to hell for all eternity
- Colossians 3:25 (NKJV) 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
- Sin is the reason for every pain, hurt, disappointment and regret.
- Don’t just have a negative opinion of sin… hate it!
Cling to what is good.
To “cling” is to put forth an active effort to keep hold of something.
- Reach out and hold on to what is good.
- Even when the world and popular opinion make it difficult, don’t let go of what is good.
- You have to work hard to hold on to good.
- The spiritual forces of darkness are relentlessly trying to pull it from your grasp
- Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love,
Another act of selflessness.
- Showing love towards other, being affectionate and compassionate… this separates the Christian from the rest of the world who are mainly looking out for themselves.
- This love should be without favoritism, not based on looks, talent or wealth (James 2)
in honor giving preference to one another;
The world would have you to believe that you must look out for yourself first.
- As Christians, we honor others over ourselves.
- We prefer the well being of the other person first.
- This is so completely opposite of the world, that it becomes a distinct identifying trait of Christianity.
not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
The Christian life is valuable and worth our best efforts.
- God has saved us and that should produce enthusiasm in our life.
- “Fervent in spirit” literally means “to boil” giving us a picture of heat and activity.
- A Christians life should be marked by conscientious, enthusiastic service.
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Christians of all people are marked by hope
- Psalm 146:5 (NKJV) 5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
No matter what happens in this life, Jesus is returning to take us to heaven for all eternity!
- We have hope! This allows us to patiently endure suffering knowing that there is nothing that can happen to us in this life that can take away our hope for the next.
- Our hope is sustained by communication with the Source of Hope (Rom 15.13). Consistent and ongoing prayer increase our hope and our patience.
- Romans 15:13 (NKJV) 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Christianity is a life of service, not just words
- James 1:21–26 (NKJV) 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
The world sees Christ because we help each other, take care of each and look out for each other.
- We are kind and giving and friendly.
- God gives us money, homes, food and resources so that we might be kind and loving towards others.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
This is one of the hardest but most extraordinary traits of a Christian.
- It goes completely opposite of what the world teaches, and completely opposite of what we feel like doing.
- Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
There are times when a Christian must ignore how he feels when suffering at the hands of others, and just obey God by blessing those who are doing the hurting.
- We can take great encouragement in doing this because it is such an obvious sign that God is working in our lives.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
This is being sensitive to what others are going through. This is caring about what others are going through (1Pet 3.8). We don’t live in a vacuum.
- 1 Peter 3:8 (NKJV) 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
There are hurting people all around us, saved and unsaved, who need our sympathy and understanding.
- And how much more enjoyable is a time of joy and celebration when it is shared with others?
- This is another act of selflessness, because we are to put aside how we feel in consideration of how others feel.
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.
Don’t show favoritism.
- Don’t be haughty and become trapped into valuing what the world says is important.
- We are not to seek friendships and associations based solely on how it benefits us.
- We are to be the friend of the humble, the lowly, the poor… not just the “beautiful” people of the world.
Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Don’t feel superior (Jer 9.23).
- Jeremiah 9:23 (NKJV) 23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
Sin can destroy anyone. You are no different.
- You can be sick, homeless, poor and abandoned just like anyone else.
- If you are enjoying some success in life, it is only because of God’s grace, not your ability or intellect.
- Be careful to not think too highly of yourself
- Proverbs 28:26 (NKJV) 26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
Repay no one evil for evil.
- Proverbs 20:22 (NKJV) 22 Do not say, “I will recompense evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.
That is the Lord’s business. We know that all people reap what they sow (Gal 6.7), and the God will enforce perfect justice according to His timing.
- Galatians 6:7 (NKJV) 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
- We should never seek to “get even”, nor to enjoy it when people finally do reap a bitter harvest.
Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
Become a person who is known to love what is good, who seeks good and stands up for what is good.
- This sounds rather simplistic but stop and think about how many people you know who fit this description.
- Can you think of many people who are trademarked by their striving for what is good?
- The vast majority of people seek what is good for them rather than seeking truly good things simply because it honors God.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
We are to do everything possible to be at peace with others.
- Christians are identified as those who do everything within their ability to live in peace.
- True peace is living life according to God’s Word.
- Sometimes peace is not possible, but it should never be from our lack of effort.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Again, God will take care of correcting wrongs
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NKJV) 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
- God is the perfect Judge and He will execute divine judgment with perfection.
- We don’t have to live our lives worrying about whether wrong will be punished. It will.
Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Our enemies are humbled and shamed when we repay their hatred with kindness.
- Even when they aren’t shamed, God is glorified by our obedience and example of love.
- It is easy to love and serve those who are kind to us.
- A true sign of Christianity is when we are able to show kindness to those who mistreat and harm us
- Proverbs 25:21 (NKJV) 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
God is on our side. Evil cannot overwhelm us.
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- Does your life reflect this list? Do you seek to add Godly behavior to your life or just try to make sure that what you are doing is not sin?
- The Christian life is not just an effort to not sin. It is also an effort to increase Godliness.
- This list that Pails gives us is one of the most comprehensive in all the Bible concerning proper Christian behavior.
- It will do us well to learn it, meditate on it, and take it as our personal standard.