By NICOLE WINFIELD/Associated Press
The Picayune Item
VATICAN CITY —
Romans 12:9 tells us how to properly use our gifts in building up the body, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” NASU We are called to let the love of God flow through us to our fellow believers and to the lost and dying world around us. This love must not be an act. It must be without hypocrisy, real, sincere. The producing of spiritual fruit depends on it.
The rest of Romans 12 describes this “love without hypocrisy”. It spells it out in great detail, “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.” NASU
Romans 12:9-21 presents an impossible goal. You cannot love that way. I cannot love that way. Only God can love that way. If we dont abhor evil the way God abhors evil, we really do not love without hypocrisy. If we do not cling to what is good the way God clings to what is good, we really do not love without hypocrisy. If we are not devoted to one another in brotherly love in the way that Christ loves, we really do not love without hypocrisy. If we do not refuse to lag behind in diligence in the way that Christ refuses to, we really do not love without hypocrisy. I have worked through less than a tenth the list but you get the picture. You can work through the rest of the list which only gets progressively more difficult.
We are commanded to let love be without hypocrisy. The only way for that to be true is to abstain from damming up the flow of God’s love. These verses provide us with a tremendous measuring stick. We ought to use these verses to see if we measure up, to see if our love is real, without hypocrisy. If our love does not match these verses, the solution is not for us to work harder but rather to submit and surrender to God. In the words of Romans 12:1 we are to, “present our bodies as a living sacrifice”. If we do not find the qualities found in these verses, we need to check our union with Christ. We need to figure out if we really are abiding in Christ, attached as a branch to the Vine. We need to examine ourselves to see if we are allowing Christ to use our bodies as His body. That really is the function of the church.