Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
The Greek word for hypocrisy is “hupokrisis” which means to pretend as a stage-actor in a play. Love in this passage is a reference to impersonal love. Impersonal love is not what we normally think of as love. It is the virtue in your soul that causes you to have a relaxed mental attitude toward others and treat them with kindness, compassion, patience and forgiveness. In other words, impersonal love is how we treat others. Therefore, impersonal love must be based on the virtue of the subject, the one doing the loving (“the treating”). Impersonal love is a function of the Royal Ambassadorship of the believer. It is our love for God that motivates us to exhibit impersonal love toward all. Impersonal love operates from the integrity and virtue that you have developed from learning and applying Bible doctrine.
As a royal ambassador, you represent God before the world. Therefore, as royalty, you are to conduct your life accordingly. This calls for high standards of excellence in every area of your life. It calls for honor in your dealings with your fellow-believers and with unbelievers alike. With Jesus Christ as our example, we are to exhibit the same kind of love that He exhibited. This kind of love can be accomplished only by a believer with Bible doctrine in the soul, who is being controlled by the Holy Spirit.
When we are properly functioning under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will adhere to the Royal Family Honor Code. These codes enable us to exhibit impersonal love toward others. This means that we will treat everyone with respect, regardless of race, social status, ability or what a person can or cannot do for us. We will refrain from gossip, maligning, judging, character assassination, etc. We will “live and let live.” We will be tolerant, be thoughtful and be kind toward others. We will hold no grudges or resentment against anyone. (I John 4:17-18)
“Abhor what is evil” uses the Greek word “apostugeo” for abhor, which means to hate, to detest or to loathe. “Poneros” is the Greek word for evil, which means wickedness, depravity and maliciousness. The Greek word for cling is “kollao,” which means to glue, to cement or to adhere. The Greek word for good is “agathos” meaning good of lasting value. Evil is Satan’s policy for the world system in which we live. Lasting good belongs to God and is exhibited by a believer as he/she functions under the guidance and power of God the Holy Spirit.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
The Greek word for devoted is “philostorgos,” which means kindly affectionate or friendly. This is in the sense of family affection. Brotherly love in the Royal Family of God is not emotional. It is a relaxed mental attitude toward other believers.
The Greek word for preference is “proegeomai,” which means to lead, to take the lead, to esteem someone more highly than yourself or to simply esteem highly. This word denotes what happens when a believer begins to understand the Royal Family Honor Code and functions under it in the ministry of the Spirit. The Greek word for honor is “time” meaning valuing or precious. Therefore, each believer is honor-bound by the code of the royal family to avoid gossip, maligning, judging and malicious criticism of another believer.
The Greek word for lagging behind is “okneros” meaning negligent, idle, lazy or hesitation through weariness, sloth and/or fear. The Greek word for diligence is “spoude,” which means earnestness, zeal or haste. In our relationships within the body of Christ especially, we are to be diligent. This means we are to advance to spiritual maturity where we learn how to treat other believers the way God treats them (with unconditional love).
The Greek word for fervent is “zeo,” which means to be hot or to boil. This is a command to be filled with the Spirit. This same Greek word is used for the filling of the Spirit in Acts 18:25. The Greek word for serving is “douleuo,” which means to serve as a slave or a servant. The believer is to voluntarily offer himself as a slave to the Lord (a living sacrifice). Serving the Lord is a reference to the function of our royal priesthood and our royal ambassadorship. Christian service is radically different from what most think.
Christian service is divine production, which is a function of a royal priest/royal ambassador motivated by his relationship with God. Divine production can be visible or invisible. For example, prayer is invisible divine production. Sharing the Gospel is visible divine production. Both are rewardable when done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit from the proper motivation of love for God and impersonal love for others. Certain categories of divine production are common to all believers and some are fulfilled through the function of our spiritual gifts. For example, all believers are commanded to exhibit the character of Christ, but not all believers have the spiritual gift of evangelism.
Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
The Greek word for rejoicing is “chairo,” which means to be glad or to be happy. The Greek word for hope is “elpis,” which means confident expectation or confident anticipation. All believers possess eternal life, but all believers do not have confident expectation and confident anticipation of blessing and reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. However, if a believer advances to spiritual maturity, he/she can have this confidence.
The Greek word for persevering is “hupomeno,” which means to remain, to stay behind, to remain instead of fleeing, to wait for someone, to stand still, to stand fast or to stand firm against a hostile attack. The Greek word for tribulation is “thlipsis,” which means affliction. Tribulation for the maturing believer normally comes in the form of undeserved suffering. Standing fast in undeserved suffering involves the use of the Faith-Rest Technique and other problem-solving devices. Undeserved suffering is actually designed for our spiritual advancement. Passing the test of undeserved suffering is therefore a blessing not a curse for the advancing believer.
The Greek word for devoted is “proskartereo,” which means to endure, to persist or to be steadfast. Prayer has power when properly used by a maturing believer. This means that a maturing believer will be able to make the maximum use of prayer because he/she knows how to prayer properly.
Contributing to the needs of the saints uses the Greek word “koinoneo” for contributing which means fellowship or communion. At first this may seem to indicate giving money to people. It does not exclude that but it is much greater than that. Your greatest contribution to other people is to take in doctrine on a daily basis until you have advanced to maturity. A spiritually mature believer will be prospered in so many ways that he is now in a position to be gracious and generous and helpful to others. After you reach maturity, you contribute to the needs of the saints by sharing whatever blessing God has provided for you, when the occasion arises. This may include the utilization of your spiritual gift/gifts.
Practicing is the Greek word “dioko,” which means to pursue or to aspire to. The Greek word for hospitality is “philoxenia,” which means love of strangers and is a reference to impersonal love for all mankind. It does not mean that we are required to open our homes to every stranger on the street. However, it does mean that as God’s ambassadors we are to exhibit His kind of unconditional, impersonal love for everyone.
The effective ambassador is a blessing to others. God blesses the believer when he has developed capacity to receive blessing. Capacity is developed by the believer-priest as he builds his relationship with God. The primary responsibility of a believer as a royal priest is the perception of Bible doctrine. The primary responsibility of a believer as a royal ambassador is the application of Bible doctrine.
If a believer puts the “cart before the horse” by attempting to represent Jesus Christ before developing a relationship with God, his/her ambassadorship becomes legalism or Christian activism (trying to reform Satan’s world system). Divine production is always the result of a right relationship with God, never the means. Before a believer can be an effective ambassador for Christ, he/she must have a developing spiritual life. And, God never blesses the believer because of his/her production as an ambassador. Capacity is the key to receiving blessing from God after salvation, which is developed by means of intake and application of accurate Bible doctrine. (Matthew 6:33)