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Romans, chapters 12-16 are filled with practical applications for us to learn and obey.  Let’s consider first what we find in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  What important and necessary truths for us to live by in the world today.  If only there were more giving of ourselves to the Lord and less conformity to the world, the church would be much stronger and bring more glory to our blessed savior. 

I encourage you to read this entire chapter carefully and find time to meditate on its valuable teachings.  For now, let’s look at the question before us by reading Romans 12:17-19, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”  While it may seem logical to the world to return evil for evil, the Lord tells us that we, as Christians, are not to be conformed to the world.  We are to be different.  Paul had said earlier in Romans 12:14, “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”  The Lord Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  I might add that the power to do this very difficult task is found in presenting our bodies a living sacrifice to the Lord. 

To ‘provide things honest’ goes beyond just telling the truth.   It means that, as believers, our conduct should always be according to God’s Word.  The word ‘honest’ here gives the thought of doing what is morally right.  As representatives of the Lord in this world, our actions should always be above reproach.  As much as lies within us, we are to be at peace with everyone.  We may find that because of our Christian testimony, some people refuse to get along with us.  We just need to make sure we are not behaving in such a way that people will find it hard to be at peace with us.  If we give back evil for evil, if our actions are not above reproach, it will be difficult for people to see Christ in us.

Paul speaks now in a very affectionate tone.  He refers to us as ‘dearly beloved’.  We are instructed not to take vengeance against those who harm us.  We have the perfect example of Christ to show us that we can ‘give place unto wrath’, either by civil law or by God’s judicial judgment upon those who harm His children.  We read in 1 Peter 2:21-23that, “…Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”  Vengeance truly belongs to the Lord.  It does not belong to us.  James 1:20shows us that, “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  It is so hard, even impossible for us to leave the wrath to the Lord if we have not presented our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.  May we be strengthened and comforted by the Lord’s promise in Romans 12:19, “…I will repay.”  We also have the promise of 2 Thessalonians 1:6which says, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.”  My dear fellow believer, may we give ourselves wholly to the Lord and not try to look and act like this present evil world.  May we be patient and wait upon the Lord; giving Him room to execute His righteous judgment on our behalf.  As we read in Psalms 27:14, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”  (141.3)