Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 12

Higher standards for Christians

Romans 12:17

All people have done wrong and evil things (3:23). In fact, their wicked behaviour even brings Godís anger against them (1:18). However, people have not lost all knowledge of what is good.

All people still understand that certain kinds of behaviour are noble, honourable and right. They may not themselves be honest or sincere, but they still consider an honest, sincere person to be a good person. They may themselves be very evil, but they would not trust an evil person. They know that they can only really trust someone good.

Paul urges Christians to test their own behaviour by those standards. It may be right and fair to cause pain to someone who has hurt you. However, by those standards, such action seems wrong. It is as if we can mend one evil act by another evil act. It gives an impression that we do not really care about good and right behaviour. It is as if we can choose whether to be good or evil, simply to suit ourselves. In Romans 3:8, Paul insists very strongly that Christians should not have such attitudes.

Christians have the responsibility to show Godís true nature to the world (Matthew 5:14-16; Romans 2:21-24). God is perfect in every way (James 1:17); he never does any evil thing (James 1:13). As Godís children, Christians must show this by their actions. Christians need to behave in a different and better way than other people behave (Matthew 5:43-47). Christ told Christians to be perfect, even as God, their Father, is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

Next part: The right way to live in an evil world (Romans 12:18)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.