Romans 12:17-21 (p. 1764) November 26, 2017
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
Intro: 1) Paul continues his exegesis of the Sermon on the “Level Place” (Luke 6’s Sermon on the Mount)
— with focus on “everybody” = my enemy
2) note the three textual connections:
— with the “more than conquerors” of Romans 8
— between the mercy of God in 12:1 –> 12:21
— with the inclusion around the “love chapter” of good/evil (12:9 and 12:21)
Know your enemy
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath,
for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Romans 12:19 (Deuteronomy 32:35 is also quoted in Hebrews 10:30 of believers!)
- If I have to ask, HE IS MY ENEMY (this is the heart of the “who’s my neighbor?” principle)
- God is a MUCH BETTER judge (even I am glad I’m not the final judge, and also glad you’re not!!)
The heart of God and the Golden Rule
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
. . . But love your enemies, do good to them,
and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High,
because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6 (see also Luke 10 and the Good Samaritan)
- This isn’t supposed to be DIFFICULT à this is supposed to be IMPOSSIBLE
- Love is a POSITIVE rule à the very best the world can do (listen to current Mason’s advertisement)
- It is about MY ungratefulness = do to others as God has done for me
What Proverbs 25 really means
On the contrary: “If you enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
- Kindness is my BEST WEAPON (this is Doug’s answer to the “burning coals” question!)
- I ALREADY have my reward –> explains why Paul left this part off his quote of Proverbs 25
More study resources for Romans 12
Tim Browning’s message “. . . Even Your Enemies” at https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/
onsite/mp3/076%20Romans%2012.03-08.pdf. Browning has, in my opinion, the best answer to the “burning coals” question.
Kim Riddlebarger’s sermon “In Christ, We Who Are Many Form One Body” on Romans 12 (#31) at static1.1.sqspcdn.com
Bob Deffinbaugh’s sermon “Loving Your Enemies” at https://bible.org/seriespage/30-thinking-straight-about-spiritual-gifts-romans-123-8
Ligon Duncan’s messages at https://www.fpcjackson.org/resource-library/sermons/
Michael Horton’s “Romans from 30,000 Feet” from “An Overview of the Book of Romans”, http://www.reformationtheology.com/2011/04/romans_from_30000_feet_by_mich.php
Sinclair Ferguson’s “The Great Exchanges In Romans” at http://www.ligonier.org/blog/great-exchanges-romans/
F.F. Bruce’s paraphrase of Romans at https://biblicalstudies.org.
uk/pdf/eq/1958-2_bruce.pdf or Paternoster Press (1965); Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (Eerdmans, 1977); and The Epistle of Paul to the Romans (Eerdmans, 1963). I like Bruce’s poem on page 162:
To run and work the law commands,
Yet gives me neither feet nor hands;
But better news the gospel brings:
It bids me fly and gives me wings.
Tim Keller’s Romans For You (The Good Book, 2014).
William Hendriksen’s Romans in BNTC (Baker Books, 1980).
James Boice’s Romans, Volume 4: The New Humanity, (Baker Books, 1991). Boice (who follows Hodge’s 1886 commentary) also has a good discussion of the “burning coals” question.
Charles Hodge’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Eerdmans, 1886).
Earl Palmer’s Romans series notes “The Greatest Book”, Winter 2002, University Presbyterian Church. Seattle, Washington.