Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9)
What’s love if it isn’t genuine? Quite simply a love that is coerced and disingenuous is not love at all. When Paul says let love be genuine (12:9) he is saying that love, for the believer is not something that should be faked, but it should be authentic. Love should be real. And what does love look like? The first thing he says is that love requires that the believer should hate evil. If I love life, I’ll hate death. If I love truth, I’ll hate lies. To love good means to hate evil, and instead cling to whatever is good.
For Paul, the believer is known by his or her genuine love. For Paul that love was to be expressed especially in your love for other Christians. And that can be hard because Christians like anyone else are flawed, broken, and sinful. Even then Paul says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (12:10). The natural outworking of genuine love means that we see other followers of Jesus as a part of our family. A family who works through things, confronts one another in grace, and sees one another as inseparably linked. But what’s the basis of this?
The basis of our love for one another is the fact that believers have been saved from their sin and adopted into the family of God. We are truly a part of one family, one household. If Jesus was willing to forgive the sins of my brother and sister and love them with an everlasting love, then how can I not forgive and love? And if God is willing to forgive me for my sins? How can I not want to express that same love to my family? Genuine Christian love, for Paul, for Jesus, is a natural outworking of God’s grace in the heart of his people.