Lesson 44


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. 12:18 If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. 12:19 Donít seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to Godís wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord." 12:20 Therefore

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him a drink.
For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head."

12:21 Donít be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  


Today's Lesson 

 If all of us who are in Christ are members of the body of Christ, then we should have supreme confidence in the eventual triumph of good over evil. If we do live by faith that Christ has overcome death and sin, then our lives and our conduct will be affected by that faith. This is the premise for Paul's words in this section.

 

"Repay no one evil for evil." As members of Christ's body, there is no reason for us to repay evil to anyone. Revenge and vengeance are set aside. Christ has overcome sin and death. He is raised to a glorified, new life at the right hand of the Father. Our position is in heaven with Christ our Lord. Any evil that is done to us in this life is transitory. It will soon be blown away by the winds of eternity. If evil is to be rewarded, the responsibility for retribution is not ours, but Christ's. We are the body and Christ is the head. The hand does not defend itself alone. The head cares for the whole body as its own.

 

We are to respect that which brings honor on Christ our Lord. Men should see Him when they look at us. We should in no way bring dishonor to His name. This means living at peace with those around us. Sometimes this is not always possible. Men of violence sought out our Lord. They may well seek us out as well. But, where it is possible, we should live peaceful lives.

 

This will mean a completely new approach to how we respond to our enemies. When Christ encountered those who sought Him harm, He gave them that which they needed most at the time. Usually that meant that He spoke to them about the things of the Father. Sometimes He gave them bread and fish. On the last night of His life, when Judas was preparing to betray Him, Jesus washed the feet of His betrayer.

 

If Jesus could wash the feet of Judas Iscariot, Paul concludes, we can feed our enemies if they are hungry. We can give them a drink if they are thirsty. The Father has given us all that we have. If He wishes for us to give it away to our enemies, that is within His right to ask it of us. When we were God's enemies, Christ was willing to die for us. We should be willing to feed our enemies, or clothe them, or give them a drink when they are thirsty.

 

We do these things because we have good reason to believe that good has already triumphed over evil. God has revealed it. The Spirit that lives within us confirms it. Christ has triumphed over death and sin. When we encounter evil, it is only a remnant of a defeated foe. Yes, it may still be powerful enough to defeat our flesh, but it will never overcome our King! We are secure in Christ because we are members of His body. Sin and death and all that is evil have no hold on Him any more.

 

Are you still afraid of evil people and situations in your life? Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the evil and sin of the whole world before He died. He who knew no sin became sin for our redemption. When they nailed Him to the cross, all of the sin of the world was nailed to it with Him. When He died, sin was crucified with Him. Are you willing to allow Christ to bear not only your sin, but also the sin of all men, even the sin of your enemies? Are you willing to believe in the triumph of Christ over evil?

 

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