MDB 27: Mark 12 & Rom 12

Stephen Nichols

In both of these chapters we have the great commandment, the second part of the Great Commandments that is, to love one another. Paul expresses it in the middle of one of his discussions on spiritual gifts. Curiously, over in 1 Corinthians 13 he also stresses love when he is talking about gifts. 

True love is not something that comes naturally for us. We must be commanded to do it (Mk 12:31). We also must be told what it looks like as we relate to each other (Rom 12:9-21). In looking at these verses I found a helpful comment by David Kasali in the Africa Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 2006).  He writes, "Such love involves both a willingness and a constant decision to work or act for the good of others . . . Such a demonstration of a different type of life, a Christian life, is badly needed in all corners of our continent" (1370).

As for his first sentence, let's just be honest about how hard that is for us. We are so selfish.  Our first impulse is usually not what's best for our neighbor or how does what I do show love for my neighbor. No, we usually go in the other direction, like Joseph's brothers (Gen 42). As for Kasali's second sentence, which he was applying to the continent of Africa, it would be helpful for us to ask what impact truly transformed and renewed people would make if they simply lived out the law of love for God and love for neighbor. 

There is much in Romans 12 that is counter-cultural, and counter-intuitive (to the natural or unregenerate person that is). It is only by God's grace at work in us that we can even begin to live out what the law of love requires. We are not the same people we used to be, thanks to Christ's righteousness.  We can also no longer live the way we used to live. No, we belong to God, we are his. And we must live differently.

Looks like we'll all be spending a little extra time today praying for God's grace to be at work in our lives.