Andrew Hughes | Category: The Christian Life
Last Sunday, we heard the text from Romans 12:14 that says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Paul seems to be alluding to Jesus’ own words regarding the command to love one’s enemies from Matthew 5:43-44. That is an overwhelming imperative from Paul. How do you do that!
The only way this can be done is by taking the persecution and curse on yourself, giving the offender the blessing. There has to be an exchange. There has to be a substitution. That’s the Gospel!
Galatians 3:13-14 states, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—so that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Do you see the exchange there! Christ took the curse on Himself, giving us the blessing! There’s a substitution. So how will you go about blessing your enemies that persecute and curse you in your own life? It will be by both the paradigm and the power of the cross/Gospel. Christian, Jesus took your curse and gave you His blessing. That is why and how you can bless those who curse you.
When unjust insults, curses, and persecution are hurled at you, you could retaliate and throw it back. You could give them what they rightly deserve and enjoy the blessing of righteous vindication. But if you don’t throw it back, retaliate, and seek vindication, this means they are blessed while you bear the weight of the insult, curse, and persecution. You absorb their pain. There is a loss for you and a gain for them. You have to humble yourself and die to self. Essentially, you are absorbing their hurt…and in doing so you offer them forgiveness…and blessing.
You say, what gain is that to me though? Apart from the Spirit empowered faith, there is no gain. But by the Spirit, we can see the joy and freedom of forgiveness, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:19-25 ESV)
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