Paul says “Let us Live Like Christ Followers” Part 4
Romans 12:17-18 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. NKJV
Paul nears the finish line of these exhortations and commands to us with some very strong medicine, but again not something that is completely foreign to any of us because our Lord Jesus Himself as we documented His Words as written down by Dr. Luke in Luke 6:27-35 already demands this from us His sons and daughters. Paul perhaps more than any of the other Apostles was well schooled to speak on being confronted with evil hurled at him through the human instruments of men and women being used by the enemy of our souls, the devil. Paul documents for us so candidly and vividly his encounter with the evil one working through men who were unredeemed, unregenerate, and ungodly as he testifies to us with these incidents here, 2 Corinthians 11:24-26 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brethren. NKJV
Despite all of these incidents, Paul never struck back in like manner against men who were the perpetrators or causes of these horrible things he endured. Paul now tells us to be imitators of him in this manner (1 Corinthians 11:1) and never repay any man’s evil acts against you with your own evil actions. It is normal or natural for the ungodly man or woman to respond with revenge in their hearts and minds (1 Corinthians 2:14), but for the man or woman that has encountered our Precious Lord Jesus Christ and His Love and Grace we are no longer the same men and women inside and so we cannot allow our old man or woman to rise up, but we instead must allow God the Holy Spirit to energize and infuse our new nature to respond as our Lord Jesus responded when He was reviled and shown all manner of evil against Him from men, as it is written of Him by the Apostle Peter so must we walk like Him, Listen to Peter’s words, 1 Peter 2:20-23 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. NKJV
We are to do what is right not only in the sight of all men, but also to do what is right to all men no matter what they do to us is all manner of evil. The Apostle Peter earlier in Peter Chapter 2 declares it this way with these words, 1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor the king. NKJV When the Apostle Peter wrote these words the Apostle John “the Apostle of Love” was not seated on the Roman throne, but instead a man named Caesar Nero was Emperor of Rome and he was the epitome of the devil’s son. Caesar Nero executed many people during his reign from A.D. 54-A.D. 68 including his own mother. Caesar Nero clothed Christians in animal skins and let hungry lions loose from his collection to maul and eat these faithful men and women of God alive. Paul also knew of this truth and he submitted himself to the authority of this godless man and many others like him and so he commands us in every generation to do likewise with the Caesar Nero’s of our era.
Paul declares that our duty is to be at peace with all men no matter what their hearts desire and will to us might entail. Our Lord Jesus is the One who guards our hearts and minds as He does His Work in us by God the Holy Spirit and so we are to purpose in our hearts to live peaceably with all men, even the ones who perpetrate evil acts or deeds against us (Hebrews 12:14). Paul knows from experience that it is not possible at all times to live peaceably with all men for Paul documents such an occasion he had with Alexander the coppersmith for us with these words, 2 Timothy 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. NKJV There are men and women like Alexander the Coppersmith in some capacity in the lives of every true lover of our Lord Jesus Christ because we have an adversary the devil who must work through human instruments to oppose God’s children of every era and in every generation. We are at peace with God (Romans 5:1), but the lost man is at war with Him (James 4:4). The conclusion is that we will not be able to live peaceably with all men because the ungodly man will not allow us to do so, by virtue of his love for sin and hatred of godliness.
“Peace without purity is the peace of the devil’s palace. - As much as lieth in you. There must be two words to the bargain of peace. We can but speak for ourselves. We may be unavoidably striven with; as Jeremiah, who was a man of contention (Jeremiah 15:10), and this we cannot help; our care must be that nothing be wanting on our parts to preserve the peace, Psalms 120:7.” Matthew Henry
“Christian people ought to seek for the good opinion of those around them. They are not to take that opinion as the motive for their conduct, nor should they do good in order to be praised or admired for it; but they are to ‘adorn the doctrine,’ and to let their light shine that men seeing their good may be led to think more loftily of its source, and so to ‘glorify their Father which is in heaven.’ That is one way of preaching the Gospel. The world knows goodness when it sees it, though it often hates it, and has no better ground for its dislike of a man than that his purity and beauty of character make the lives of others seem base indeed. Bats feel the light to be light, though they flap against it, and the winnowing of their leathery wings and their blundering flight are witnesses to that against which they strike. Jesus had to say, ‘The world hateth Me because I testify of it that the deeds thereof are evil.’ That witness was the result of His being ‘the Light of the world’; and if His followers are illuminated from Him, they will have the same effect, and must be prepared for the same response. But none the less is it incumbent upon them to ‘take thought for things honourable in the sight of all men.’” Alexander MacLaren
“To respond against evil with good cannot be done by one whose heart is unregenerate continually, consistently, and constantly, but it is possible to do in a short term, but as time of evil testing persists over long periods the unregenerate heart will spring forth the only fruit it longs to bear and so it will and it must return evil for evil, that’s all it knows.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…