Originally published December 4, 2015
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; …
Let love be without dissimulation.…
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:6-21Romans 12:16-21
You have most certainly heard the term “religious extremist” recently. The untrained observer will see the news, and witness the violence of Islam, or Muslims, and equate that with religion. The observer will then be ‘educated’ in the history of Romanism, or Catholicism, and the atrocities of the dark ages, and will again think: religion. The already confused observer will then have his attention drawn to India, where the democracy (without the rule of law) of the Hindus and Buddhists leads to public humiliations, stonings, rape, and mob rule. Yet again, another extreme of religion is to blame.
It’s hard to argue with these facts; RELIGION is the culprit for much unrest in this world.
As a Bible-believing Christian I am expected by them to feel guilty when I hold my faith seriously. However, nobody ever READ the Bible and came away thinking that anything in the previous paragraph is right to do. The Bible is the most moral, healthy, and totally SAFE book to believe- as long as you can keep the long, bony, oppressive fingers of religion off of it. When a religion dictates how you should believe- you turn into a pawn of hierarchy, a puppet controlled by some elite whose primary ‘faith’ is in their own head; that they know better than you. When you sacrifice your mind to religion, you relinquish your freedom of worship.
Your enemies- the world, your flesh, and the devil- want you to believe exactly what the nightly news tell you. You are accepted by society as long as you don’t take the Bible seriously. ‘Extremism’ is dangerous, therefore whatever God directs you to do through his word should be taken ‘with a grain of salt’ (Remember Lot’s wife. Luke 17:32) Lukewarm beliefs are the norm.
Romans 12 gives you the ‘extremes’ of Biblical faith in a local body of believers. Note that there are no headquarters telling anyone what they should or should not practice in the New Testament. The standard has always been the Word. Most false faiths have their ‘holy books’ that they will try to keep hidden or water down. When someone is caught practicing their written creed, they are labeled extremists so the heat is taken off the issue: that is, the hate mongering, racist, murderous book (or books) they hold dear! God’s word, however, can be trusted to the very edge of extremism.
- Romans 12:6-8 first lists the extreme gifts any Christian may possess.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.“
Possession of these gifts is independent of birth, rank, education, or status, but totally conditional on your dependence on Christ’s grace. On one end is prophecy, which is the faithful declaration of the Scriptures, and on the other end is a merciful person. Now, which of those is the dangerous extreme?
- Secondly in Romans 12:9-18 we are given the extreme graces to use those gifts on the previous verses.
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 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.“
At the beginning is given the grace of the love of good things- and the last is the grace to live peaceably at all cost. Are you getting the feeling that the news media has lied to you about believing the Bible?
- Thirdly are given from verses 19 to 21 the extreme goals that believers should seek, using their gifts according to the graces granted to them.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
The first goal is to be a non-violent person; to give place to wrath. The second goal is to seek the good of those that hate you, by feeding and nourishing them. The third goal, the ultimate game plan, the ulterior motive of Christians everywhere is this: love your enemies to death. Eliminate all your foes by converting them to friends.
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”Romans 12:21
At last the secret is out. Christian “extremists” will not use force to convert, will not threaten for peace, will not become gun-toting vigilantes to overthrow the government. A well-founded belief in the Bible is what I like to call ‘safe theology.’ It is safe theology because most importantly it will save your soul from Hell. It is safe also because it will spare you from heartaches here, on this side of eternity. It is safe again, because Bible-believing “extremists” are the most noble people in society today.
“I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me to dwell in safety.”Psalm 4:8
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”Proverb 18:10
No other religion with any other book can make such a claim!