Paul is getting intensely practical now. In fact, beginning with Romans 12:1, Paul departs from theoretical doctrine and embarks on making our faith practical. He does this in all his letters. Watch for it.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.Romans 12:9-10
Literally: In love (agape) [be] without hypocrisy. [Hate, abhor, detest] evil but [cling, be glued to, be joined to] what is good. In brotherly affection (philadelphia] be kind, affectionate. [philastorge] leading the way, showing preference to one another in process of honouring.
Do you see how Paul is stacking this section with the words for love? Go back to Bible Gems 126–128. There all the Greek words for love are laid out for you. Notice how many of them Paul uses here. He uses them in compound words making it clear the degree to which we ought to love – he is covering the bases if you like. Not only that but we must do it sincerely, not in hypocrisy. The Greek word for hypocrisy comes from the Greek theatre where the actors used masks to portray the character. Love without masks, love without being two faced. Love sincerely.
The word sincere is also interesting. It is Latin derived from sine cera which means without wax. The cracks in ancient pottery was plugged with wax to hide the fact that it was inferior or damaged. Like in this day and age when we might plug the rust in a car with plastic filler and paint over it so the buyer wont know its true nature. Take the sense of all these words and put them together. Don’t love like that. Let your love be genuine. Don’t pretend to love, really love. We must love with agape type love and love without hypocrisy; rather love sincerely, without wax.
When you love and show true brotherly affection for your fellow believer take the lead in showing honour and deference. Be the first one to do it, let them follow if they will. Don’t worry about whether they will love you in return. Don’t wait for an indication of a favourable response before you go further. Take the lead and really love them to the max. When you love like that you can leave the results confidently to the Lord.
Notice something else too: love is not some wishy-washy emotional feeling that you have to have and can’t show the bad side. Paul is effectively saying in your love be without hypocrisy but without hate too. Wow did you know you can hate as a Christian. Hate / abhor / detest the things that are evil. We can hate someone’s sin but love them with all our being. Our love must be discriminating. We may feel mixed emotions. The words love and hate seem not to belong together but Paul is saying here we can do both. We can love and we can hate. Just make sure your emotions are directed in the right way. Learn to handle your emotions in a sincere and honest way. There will be times when you feel two sets of emotions within. Hate and love operating together. Love what is good; hate what is evil. Another step in having the right view of yourself.
The GRAVITY of my sinful nature makes it far easier for me to put down people than lift them up. But Rom.12:9-10 commands it.Rick Warren
“Love thy neighbour” is not a piece of advice, it’s a command.Bono
If you give people the same love you give your cat, they’ll purr too.Ian Vail