As we said this past Sunday, we are at a transition point in the book of Romans. Chapter 12 begins this important shift in emphasis with the words, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
We are now getting to the point where Paul shares commands from God about how Christians are to live. Unquestionably, the emphasis is upon how we treat others, with the majority of space given over to how we treat those within our church family with whom we have disagreements, and also how we treat our enemies and those that seek to harm us.
These commands are far from easy. They are not the ones we typically think of, and yet they are among the most important when it comes to maintaining peace and unity in the church and helping others to see Christ living in us. These are the ones that separate us most from the world—how we treat each other, how we treat our enemies, how we handle our disagreements.
Here’s a sample of what we will be challenged by this Sunday:
• Love must be sincere.
• Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
• Honor one another above yourselves.
• Practice hospitality.
• Rejoice with those who rejoice.
• Live in harmony with one another.
• Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
• Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
• Do not take revenge.
• Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Perhaps as we consider sharing the gospel with others, this list might be a good place to start.