Let love be without hypocrisy.
Romans 12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
One of the most frequent criticisms against Christians is that they are hypocrites because they are unloving. In today’s text Paul says: Let love be without hypocrisy. Contrary to what the world says, Paul says: Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. The world says we are hypocrites if we don’t love everyone and accept all that they do. Certainly following Jesus example, we are to love the unlovely, even sinners. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God loves sinners. Christ died for sinners. So are we hypocrites if we love the world and embrace the sins of the world or if we reject and even abhor what is evil, as Paul says? Paul says our love is to be without hypocrisy. So he is not denying that we should love. Perhaps we can gain some understanding of Jesus perspective of love, if we look at what He says in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” First and foremost, we are to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind. Paul says: By the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Because of the mercy of God, that He demonstrated His love in that Christ died for our sins, we should respond to His love. 1 John 4:19 says: We love because he first loved us. Our love is a response to His love for us, demonstrated in the cross. We love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind, conforming to Him, not the world.
Now look at how Jesus says we are to love others, our neighbors,
including those who are sinners. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our love for others is to be as we love ourselves. Our love is a response to
the love of God. We love because He first loved us. We love ourselves because He died for our sins, to redeem us from sin. If our love is without hypocrisy then the love we have for others must also be love that comes from the response to the love of
God demonstrated in that Christ died for our sins. If we tolerate, accept and embrace the sin that Jesus died for, that is a hypocritical love. James 4:4-8 says: Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore
wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. It is hypocritical to be double minded; to love the world and the things of the world, when we say that we love God. Jesus says: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” If we believe in the kingdom of heaven, if we believe that we are to pray and be the answer to the prayer of Jesus that it would be on earth as it is in heaven, then we are hypocrites if we teach others that it is okay to relax the commandments of God, by tolerating sin.
Paul says: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. May we indeed love deeply, everyone we meet. But, may our love be without hypocrisy as we demonstrate the love of God and the good news of redemption from sin through the cross. May we not embrace or tolerate evil, but rather may we abhor what is evil and overcome evil by clinging to good.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for Your love demonstrated in the cross of Christ, that You died for our sins. May my life reflect and demonstrate Your love to the world and may my love be without hypocrisy. Amen.