Our calling to fulfill the Law of Christ
v. 9 What is the “nature of love” Paul is talking about? How is it manifest? (1 Cor 13:1-8a)
Is this kind of “love” possible without God indwelling?
Does a supernatural transformation have to occur for a sincere and genuine love to be expressed? “Love must be sincere.”
1. A supernatural genuine love that comes from a transformed heart.
2. A transformed heart is reflected in our attitude (Phil 2).
3. This supernatural love reflects an intentional kindness with obvious respect that sets us apart as Christian. John 13:35
Hatred of what is evil readily follows supernatural love. Am I finding myself “clinging to what is good” more often than being enticed by evil?
v. 10-13 Love expressing itself in the family of believers
What does devoted in brotherly love look like?
1. Suggests a strong family affection dictated by tenderness.
Where am I in devotion and brotherly love for my brothers? Am I making an effort to stay connected?
I’d suggest in our “natural selves” this process is dead. However, in Christ we make an effort and rely on supernatural power to be devoted and love each other.
What about those who are less loveable than others? Are we to make distinctions? Do we?
How do we curb making distinctions and love all people genuinely, especially believers?
1. “Honor one another above yourselves.” (cf. Phil 2).
Can we have zeal and spiritual fervor without sincere genuine love?
1. A sincere and genuine love is reflected in giving of ourselves
2. The genuinely transformed are lead by God the Holy Spirit.
3. Do we have to do anything to experience “zeal” and “spiritual fervor?”
Should we consider everything we do as “serving the Lord?” (cf. Col 3:22-24; Eph 6:5-8).
Therefore, I cry out to the Lord to empower me to keep “spiritual fervor” and never be lacking in zeal, even in the day to day routine.
v.12 How’s my joy as I live “in Christ?” Am I confident that God has me in His mind? Hope? Wishful thinking or full assurance?
As we engage, co-participate, make choices, in light of our blessed hope: am I, are you experiencing a supernatural determination not to give up or give in to adversity?
Does God grant us the endurance to work through our conflicts, sufferings, pain, etc. in this life? Praise God! He Does!
Allen (1986) said, “The church must be marked by a confident tone inspired not by wishful thinking but by the solid reality of the Christian hope. This will result in a dogged refusal to give in to adverse pressures.”
How is this supernatural determination maintained? (v. 12b) Do I stay in the “talk with God mode? Pray without ceasing? Do I cry out to God in “all” contexts?
Furthermore, do I recognize my need to put “all” into His hands? Do I actively put “all things” into God’s gracious hands?
How? Gal 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Humble hearts crying out to God in prayer, relying on God to sustain, empower, and guide our lives!
v. 13 This verse demonstrates and outworking of love, especially as we continually connect with our gracious God in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is an everlasting concept that we strive to master.
Who are God’s people in your life? Do others see hospitality through your everyday life or do you find yourself struggling to “kill/mortify the self?”
v. 14-18 Our calling to love all people
v. 14 cf. Matt 5:44; 1 Peter 3:9; A supernatural reaction reflecting a transformed heart.
How tough has it been this week for me to pursue the narrow way of love?
How do we respond to persecution with words of love?
Should we accept persecution as coming from the hand of God? (cf. Matt 5:11-12).
v. 15 Reflects “being” in relationship. Do I make an effort to identify with others, hence acknowledging their emotions/feelings?
The idea presented in this context is to share with others in their feelings. It takes supernatural power and personal effort to make an interpersonal connection.
Our “natural mood” must give way to a supernatural empathy, a genuine concern for others, especially believers.
v. 16 Does living in harmony mean agreeing on every theological concept, idea, or way of living out our Christ life?
The idea is to disagree in a state of harmony. This takes effort. For example, if someone has a different idea, one might say:
“I don’t know” or “That is new to me” or “I am learning to appreciate differences” within orthodoxy of course! What about harmony with the obvious false teacher? (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).
Does pride kill harmony? My daily struggle is to kill “self-exaltation” and nurture “other-centered.” An egocentric disposition is our natural tendency. Therefore, we need a supernatural transformation every day, some days every moment depending on the context of one’s life.
v. 17 Where is the balance between hating evil and living in harmony?
How should we live in relationship with others? How do people perceive me? Does it really matter?
v. 18 Do I stand out as different in this world? My reactions to events, circumstances, etc., How’s my attitude? My speech? My behavior? Do I find myself blending in to be accepted, hence like those “of the world?”
It takes two to tango in conflict. Therefore, do I make every effort “depends on me” to keep the peace?
19-21 To repay evil for evil does not reflect God indwelling, but the flesh.
Harrison(1986) said, “…believers are constantly under the scrutiny of unsaved persons as well as of fellow Christians, and they must be careful that their conduct does not betray the high standards of the gospel (cf. Col 4:5; 1 Tim 3:7).”
Furthermore, he said “This peace-loving attitude may be costly, however, because some will want to take advantage of it, figuring Christian principles will not permit the wronged party to retaliate. In such a case, what is to be done? The path of duty is clear. We are not to take vengeance….” “Leave room for God’s wrath (v. 19).” “Trust him to take care of the situation.”
v. 20 Our example might bring about repentance, before God’s wrath ensues.
v. 21 1 Samuel 24:17, when Saul realized that David had spared his life, he said, “You have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil (RSV).”
Harrison said, “The world’s philosophy leads men to expect retaliation when they have wronged another. To receive kindness, to see love when it seems uncalled for, can melt the hardest heart.”
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1976) Frank Gaebelein (ed) vol. 10
The International Bible Commentary (1986) F. F. Bruce (ed)
NIV Study Bible (1984).