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. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.– Romans 12:20-21
We now come to the final verse of the grand chapter on the spiritual nature of members as part of a local church. Throughout the whole chapter, Paul has laid out prescriptions for thinking, living, and acting spiritual. We’ve seen how each of these prescriptions requires the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We’ve also seen how these prescriptions goes completely against our carnal nature. Paul concludes this chapter with verses which put into practice the second of the two greatest commands – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mark 12:31). Everything that has preceded this verse is powerful. We can use it all to shape how our churches should be. Enough with the traditional mindset that there are two classes of people in the church – preachers/teachers and unspiritual people. We ALL have a part to play in God’s plan of the church! We ALL are important! But even if we have the rest nailed down – even if we were to use the preceding verses in the chapter to shape our church functions, without loving others outside of the church, the church has failed. The local church should not be seen as a little secret club. A fully-functioning church has a heart for lost people.
We saw how we were to feed and give water to our enemy. Now we are told, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Evil can mean sin or it can mean specifically any wrongdoing. In the context of the preceding verse, we interpret this to mean that we aren’t to be overwhelmed or defeated by others’ wrongdoing toward us. Instead we are to gain the upper hand in victory by defeating wrongdoing with our good works. Victory. Isn’t it such a wonderful word? I believe it SHOULD be one of the most used words in the vocabulary of a Born-Again Believer. When’s the last time you’ve been gained victory?
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:4-5
Can you point to specific times in your life where God has given victory over sin? EVERY Born-Again Believer should be able to do this. The sad fact of the matter is that during this lukewarm age of the local church, most Born-Again Believers live defeated lives. They’ve been defeated so much that they don’t even have a desire any more for victory over sin. I wish we could take more time on victory over sin, but we’ll have to leave it for right now. VICTORY should be one of the biggest themes of our spiritual lives! Both victory over our sins and victory over others’ evil toward us! Gain the Victory! The WORLD teaches to overcome evil with evil. Our NATURE teaches to overcome evil with evil. Friends, this chapter requires us to put on a spiritual mind. In the process of this study, I have had to sacrifice my own thoughts and beliefs to accept spiritual truth. Where does the Bible teach, “if someone does something bad to you, you better fight for yourself.” Where does our Lord teach, “if someone punches you better punch him back.” This is exactly how I used to think. The fact is we live in a temporary, passing world. Our home in heaven is the true reality. Do not be overcome with evil. How do we do this? How do we prevent ourselves from being overcome with evil?
By overcoming evil with good.