Posted On October 5, 2021

Genuine Goodness and Love

by | Oct 5, 2021 | Featured, Romans

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).

Importantly, today’s passage seems to serve as a section heading for what follows in the rest of Romans 12. In other words, the admonitions in verses 9b-21 define what genuine love means. Understanding what the Apostle teaches in these verses will help us know what true love looks like and keep us from succumbing to the false ideas of love present in our own culture. Verse 9b indicates that we are to “abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” We see here that love does not lead us to do what is wrong. Many people justify all sorts of illicit relationships in the name of love. However, even if we “feel” like we are in love or “feel” like we are showing love, we do not experience godly love if we engage in something God forbids in His law.Š

Coram Deo

Today we see a false understanding of love manifested most commonly in romantic relationships. Many people justify adultery by saying that they no longer love their spouse but love another person. People often justify homosexual relationships by saying, “As long as two people love each other, their genders do not matter.” But God says that adultery, homosexual partnerships, and many other relationships are evil, and those engaging in them are not practicing true love.

Genuine Goodness and Love, Copyright (2021), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

The Christian and the Government

The Christian and the Government

Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will...

The Meaning and Purpose of Reverence for God

The Meaning and Purpose of Reverence for God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What does it mean to have reverence for God?” What you’ll hear in this episode The unchanging nature of God. Redemptive history. Why reverence and awe are vital to the Christian. Subscribing, sharing, and your...

Overcoming Evil with Good

Overcoming Evil with Good

Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Commentators on the book of Romans have pointed out the many conceptual similarities between Romans 12:14-21 and the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:38-48, for example,...

Dave Jenkins– The Purpose of Small Groups and Biblical Illiteracy

Dave Jenkins– The Purpose of Small Groups and Biblical Illiteracy

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the purpose of small groups in a local church, the place of asking questions in small groups, and addressing biblical literacy in small groups. What you’ll hear in this episode The purpose of small groups in a...

Leaving Vengeance to the Lord

Leaving Vengeance to the Lord

Romans 12:19-20, “19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[a] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for...



  1. GENUINE GOODNESS AND LOVE - Gospel News Network - […] Continue Reading / Servants of Grace >>> […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.