April 4, 2011
“Let love be without hypocrisy.”
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After reviewing some spiritual gifts from the perspective of their proper use, Paul now turns to basic commands that produce better use of the gifts, and better living to the glory of God. Remember that this entire section concerns presenting ourselves to God continually as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).
Paul focuses upon the word “love” (“ἀγάπη“). This love only believers possess, because “love” is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7). Think about this concept. Many people talk about love, and think they really love other people. God says only born-again believers actually love anyone. Only saints who know God can even love.
Virtually every day I see people mistake loving their children or spouse with doing what their children or spouse wants. Love does not mean you do what someone else wants because you want them to feel good. Love means that you know God and want to do what He wants for people you love. You will seek the best interest of other people, and treat them like God treats you. Now I trust you can understand that if you do not know God, you cannot love anyone like God loves them. The kind of love Paul speaks about in Romans 12:9 describes the love that motivates the use of all spiritual gifts to benefit the body of Christ, and to edify believers in love.
Paul emphasizes in Romans 12:9 that love must be done without “hypocrisy” (“ἀνυπόκριτος“). This term for hypocrisy means that you are sincere, genuine, and without false motives or pretense. This lack of pretense comes from a soul purified by obedience to the truth of Christ (1 Peter 1:22). Paul described his instruction as flowing from a sincere heart, that is, a heart without hypocrisy.
The context of this love without hypocrisy certainly fits tightly with the spiritual gifts we have just described. When you lay hold of someone to encourage and exhort them, you better be sure you are acting with the pure motives of moving them closer to Christ, without rancor or biting attack. Similarly, when you give, you better consider whether you are seeking more favor from men, or more praise from God who sees what you do in secret. Finally, consider the mercy to enemies that acts in their best interests. You will show mercy to enemies, in the same way that Jesus gave His life for you and forgave you. The hypocrite will be saying one thing and doing another. Because we are all hypocrites, Paul warns us to be remove all hypocrisy from all our love.
So we learn that our love must be without hypocrisy.
● We learn that love means we act toward someone as Christ would act towards them, in their best interest from God’s perspective.
● We learn that the love must be unfeigned, sincere and genuine, because true love comes only from people born of God and who know God.
● We hinder love when we fake it. Often, people will know when you fake it. God never fakes love, and when we share His love, we do so without hypocrisy. Hypocrisy means we are sharing earthly, natural love, and thinking we are acting for God.
Application for Today
Today, I want to love people without hypocrisy. I will look for God to put people into my life that He intends that I love sincerely, genuinely, and without pretense. Who will you love without hypocrisy today?