This scripture truly lays the basis for living in the family of God. It epitomizes the brotherly love that exists in the family of God and one of the many ways that love shoud be manifested within the family.
The verse reads as follows.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
When we break this down we see a significant difference from the way this world treats extended family and what we should do as members of the family of God, especially in this day and age.
It is interesting that some of the terminology used by writers in the bible would lead us to think that Christianity is a competition. It sounds in some places as if we are all competing in some way.
This is especially true when Paul says in places about “running the race set before us” and it is “only those who run according to the rules will receive the prize” and similar messages.
But in truth it isn't a competition. I say this because if you mis-read this particular verse it could make you think it is a competition. The verse reads as follows and it is the last section that could mislead.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10)
So often today I see infighting between the different denominations and groups who call themselves Christians.
I see Protestants arguing with Catholics, Pentecostals arguing with non-spirit filled religions, and everything in between. Every group has a point of view and every group believes they are correct and have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They throw up the arguments of past Christian writers pitting one expert against another in an attempt to prove that they are right and others are wrong. And they use their experts to try to disprove and discredit the expert opinions their so-called opponents are quoting.
And they are all wrong. All they show in their arguing is pride and arrogance. They add nothing to the advancement of the gospel and rather they are away from it because pride and arrogance have no part in the gospel of Jesus Christ or the pathway to life. And this is part of what this section of scripture discusses.
Do you want to be stronger in your faith? Do you want to stand in the faith with the strength that Abraham had when he was prepared to sacrifice his son and heir but fully convinced that God would provide a solution when he was tested?
The faith that we Christians hold as we come to Christ and grow and mature in Him is not a blind faith. The gifts and revelations we receive from God as we walk in His ways with Christ Jesus are given by grace but we must learn how to use His gifts to serve Him and to grow ourselves.
God’s will for His people is that they mature and be strong in the faith. There is much to learn as we walk with Jesus and much to believe as the mystery of the words of God written in the Bible He has given us is unravelled. All of this is thus boiled down to the pursuit of one thing.
Here we see a link between these three and how they interact to help us as Christians to grow. This verse reads:
“…and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
In the previous couple of verses we saw the progression and process of growth as we walk with Christ. We saw how suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope.
Now Paul extends that teaching to show us how hope works in us so that we are not disappointed or ashamed as we walk in Christ, and the power that fills us, keeps us and builds us up in hope is the power of God's love with which we are filled through the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The words of that most famous of hymns begin saying, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” And grace is truly amazing. It is by grace that we have access to all the gifts and promises of God promised through the writings and words of His prophets, disciples, apostles and of course Jesus Christ his only begotten son.
But grace is an unusual concept and an odd word that is not really well understood. Moreover access to grace is even less understood because of the all encompassing nature of it.
But what truly shocked me about grace was when I read this one verse in Romans 5:2 and began to see that the giving of grace and the extent of grace was not as universal as both I and I know many others believed it to be. This was quite a revelation for it shows that there is a definite process and a way to receive the grace of God. It is not open to everyone but only to a select group, and when we know and understand the process then we are able to receive God’s grace and the bountiful promises that come with it.
Any Christians reading the title of this post may probably think this post is talking about Jesus. I mean what human apart from Christ would even think about love when they are suffering a violent death apart from Jesus. And He was the Son of God.
And non-Christians who may be reading this may think anyone suffering a violent death would be either thinking about revenge or more likely, be so full of fear or hatred that they don’t know what to think.
But in both counts they would be wrong because there is another man who suffered a violent death and yet in his suffering his thoughts were not fear, not hatred, not revenge, not anger but love for those who were in the process of killing him. That man was Stephen the martyr.
I have been married for thirty eight years to the woman who for me was, still is and always will be “The One.” I cannot begin to describe how much she means to me and how much she is a part of me. The closeness we share is built on mutual trust, respect, honour and a deep love that goes deeper than I think even we realise.
It’s odd for I have friends and acquaintances who do not have the same closeness in their marriage or relationships as Colleen and I share. They would prefer to go out with their friends than be with their husband or wife.
Not so with us. She is my best friend as well as the the love of my life. And we would rather be with each other than anyone else in the world…and this, after thirty-eight years together, we still can’t get enough of each other.
I tell you all this as a pre-cursor to the scripture I am looking at today for I know that even as close and as deep the love we hold for each other is, the love of Christ is far greater. And here in this section of scripture we see Him show His expression of true love for us, His people and the children of God.
One of the last things the Lord did before He left this earth was to pray for the church, and more than that Jesus prayed for you. As He prayed for His people he gave us many insights into the relationship He had with the Father, and for us, the relationship between Him, the Father and ourselves.
This section of scripture is truly beautiful. You cannot read it without feeling the depth of love that the Lord has for you and the strength of His relationship with you. Read on and understand the beauty and wonder of this scripture.
Jesus is speaking here of His imminent departure from the world. He is telling His disciples that He is soon to be sacrificed and will leave this world.
In these words He gives us a few interesting teachings including a revelation about the love of the Father. But before we look at that, Jesus also spoke in this section about why he taught the people in figures and parables. So let us consider that first as a lead in to the love of the Father.