Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This is a passage of scripture that teaches how to live pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is worthy to be read and meditated on for several days. Over the next several days, we will look at particular parts of this passage, but read the entire passage daily so it can renew our mind and transform our lives (Romans 12:2b).
Romans 12:9 “Let love be genuine.” Why did Paul need to say this? Some love with a love that is not genuine. What does the word “genuine” (without hypocrisy, sincere) communicate to us about how love is to be? The Greek word translated “genuine” pertains to being without pretense. “Pretense means: “an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.” Paul knows that some people act like they love, but it is not genuine love. A person acting like he loves would be doing so for his own selfish ends. A person who genuinely loves is doing so to please the Lord Jesus Christ. Where does feeling come into this? Is doing the sixteen acts of love described by the sixteen verbs in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 an act of hypocrisy or insincerity if the feeling of love is not present? It is if the acts of love are done to achieve selfish ends. It is not if the acts of love are done to please Jesus Christ. Lack of feeling love while doing love is not an indicator of hypocrisy. Doing love for selfish ends is the indicator of hypocrisy. If I am seeking to love my enemy to please Jesus, I may not feel love for that person, but my acts of love are genuine.
How do I practice genuine love? We gain the ability and mindset to practice genuine love by repenting of our sin and believing the gospel (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9). We practice genuine love by faith in the Son of God, Jesus. We attempt to act in loving ways expecting Jesus to fulfill our attempt with His power. We can express love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Are you acting in genuine love? You can by repenting of your sin and believing the gospel and then attempting to act in love expecting Jesus to fulfill your attempt with His power (Galatians 2:20).