Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. — Romans 12:9-10 ESV
In this section of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul offers practical application based on the theological truths he has unpacked throughout the letter. As believers who have been forgiven, made righteous, reconciled with God, and filled with the Holy Spirit, their behavior should change accordingly.
In today’s passage, Paul urges the church’s behavior toward one another—to love one another with genuine love. This love isn’t a happy façade that expresses itself only to mitigate conflict. No, this love is genuine, earnestly desiring the best for another believer. They are to hate what is evil (division) and hold fast to what is good (unity), seeking to serve others more than themselves. “Outdo one another in showing honor.”
As a child growing up, as we ran with our siblings we all called out, “shotgun” on our way to the car. But nobody ever called the back-middle seat! It’s cramped, it’s uncomfortable but, with four kids in my family, one of us is sitting there! Romans 12 advocates for a love that volunteers for the back-middle seat. It advocates for genuine sacrificial love, acknowledging that Christ has saved us from our sins through His sacrifice on the cross, and models how we should honor one another. With our eyes and our hearts set on the cross, let’s love as Jesus loves.