#DailyDevotions Living Out The Name Of Jesus In Our Daily Lives
Romans 1217Don’t pay back evil for evil. Be concerned with things that everyone considers noble. 18As much as you can, live in peace with everyone. 19Don’t take revenge, dear friends, but let God punish, because the Bible says: “I alone have the right to avenge. I will pay back,” says the Lord. 20But, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you’ll heap burning coals on his head.” 21Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good.
As we pick up from yesterday’s devotion we remember these exhortations are not without power for they don’t flow from our own innate power or ability but they flow from the “mercies of God” which all the Gospel from chapters 1-11 in Romans. As such I don’t know if I’d even call these commandments as much as they come off more as wisdom literature like the Proverbs.
Paul is not just making this stuff as he goes along. Being steeped in scriptural study as a Pharisee rabbi he is drawing particularly from these passages, which you can go look up: Prov. 20:22, Psalm 34:14; Prov. 12:20; Lev. 18:19; Prov. 24; Deut. 32:35, 43; Exo_23:4-5; Pro_25:21-22.
As far as moral law and wisdom goes, Christianity teaches nothing new that wasn’t already taught in the Old Testament. It does however focus on not only the outward actions (like the Pharisees and Scribes represented in the four Gospels) but the heart that produces them (like we see in Jesus sermon on the mount and on the plain). Remember that ancient Israel was to be a witness to the name of YHWH to the nations that pass through it and to the world. That name was, Ex. 34”6“the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, slow to get angry, rich in love and faithfulness, 7continuing to show mercy to thousands, forgiving wrong, rebellion, and sin, without treating it as innocent, but disciplining children and children’s children to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their fathers.”
This way of living flows from how our Father in heaven has treated us in Christ Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth is the name of YHWH in the flesh instead of the tabernacle and the temple present with us and for us. It is Jesus who didn’t pay us back for our evil but went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. It is Jesus who didn’t take revenge on us but received in himself the wrath of God. It is Jesus who has fed us with his body and blood to eat and to drink. It is Jesus who conquered us who were evil with his good.
As his people who have received all this goodness from him and who have been born of God through the waters of baptism, having received the name of God upon ourselves, being joined to the temple which is Jesus’ body, these things Paul tells us to do flow as witness to the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit which been place on us and lives in us, to the glory of his holy name and for the salvation of those we meet who are not in that name yet.
Heavenly Father you revealed your name to the Israelites on Sinai and you have more fully revealed your name in our LORD Jesus Christ. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may bear witness to that name in our lives so that especially our enemies may be turned into our friends even as you have made us your friends. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.