GENUINE GOODNESS AND LOVE by Servants of Gracevia
Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
Scripture tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Of course, there is a great deal of confusion in our day as to what love means, so there are all manner of false understandings of the love of God both in the church and the world. A true understanding of divine love must take into account all of the Lord’s other attributes, including His holiness and justice. In His love, God does not overlook sin, and we are constrained by His love to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:8, 13-21). A true understanding of God’s love will not compromise His holiness for the sake of a love that makes no demands of the beloved.
Because love is one of God’s attributes, any understanding of what it means to be made in His image and to live in a way that pleases Him must take love into account. After all, though we are fallen, we still bear the image of our Creator, and we are being transformed into the image of Christ, who is Himself the perfect image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 1:15). We find it no surprise, therefore, that Paul includes a discussion of love in his description of what the life of people being transformed by God’s Spirit looks like.
Romans 12:9a tells us that our love must “be genuine.” This idea seems simple enough, and we can hardly do better than Dr. R.C. Sproul’s comments on verse 9a in his commentary Romans: “God expects from us authentic love, that which is not mixed with hypocrisy or false sentiment.” Genuine love does not make a show of affection that is not rooted in the realities of the heart. While it is good to treat people kindly and to love them in such a way that we go the extra mile for them, we have not truly pleased the Lord with such actions if we harbor hatred in our heart for them all the while we do such things (Matt. 5:21-26, 38-48).