Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.– Romans 12:9
We saw yesterday how our love should be REAL. Today we will see that our love should be PURE. What do you desire after? What do you cling to?
Be PURE in Your Love
“Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”
Notice Paul does not say to do the one and not do the other. The contrast here is much richer and more vivid. We are not just to turn from evil – we are to ABHOR evil. We are not just to DO that which is good – we are to CLEAVE to that which is good.
Let’s first look at the word, “abhor.” The English word is a combination of the Latin prefix “ab-“ which means “away from” and the Latin word, “horrere,” which means to shudder. To abhor is to shudder away from in revulsion. The Greek word translated “abhor” in this verse means to intensively hate. In a matter of fact, there are only two words in the Greek which signify hate. One implies a concealed hatred while the other implies the expressed and outward hatred. The word in our text is the expressed, outward, intensive hatred. This is why the translators used the word abhor. Evil should be repulsive. We should shudder away from it! Instead, we often try to get as close as we can to it. It’s never a problem to set more standards for yourself. “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). This hatred towards evil should be outwardly expressed – not out of pride and meanness because our love for others should be both REAL (Romans 12:9) and FERVENT (Romans 12:10). But people should know where you stand. The churches today are characterized by compromise and a lukewarm attitude. Draw a line today and determine to not cross it. ABHOR that which is evil.
We are also told to CLEAVE to that which is good. This is the same word used in Matthew 19:5 when our Lord answers the Pharisees concerning divorce – “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” They are now ONE FLESH. This is how closely we are to join ourselves to that which is good. We should be so closely joined to it, we should be IDENTIFIED with it. Our love should be PURE – we should CLEAVE to that which is good. Paul says this of love –
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
This is PURE love.