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Romans 12:19– Mine is vengeance

13-12-2021 - Posted by Hans

You are not avenging yourselves, beloved, but be giving place to his indignation, for it is written, Mine is vengeance! I will repay! the Lord is saying.

In verse 17 we read that we would not return evil for evil and in verse 18 that we would (as far as it depended on us) be at peace with all people. In line with this, Paul instructs here that we should not avenge ourselves. To avenge means to repay for the restoration of rights. When we have been wronged, it is just to desire rectification. That is not disputed here either, quite the contrary.

What Paul is teaching here is that we should not avenge ourselves, i.e. take the law into our own hands. We do not have to impose sanctions on those who wrong us. We can confidently surrender our wrath to God, for He looks after our interests. After all, we are his “beloved” and that is why he guarantees restoration of rights (= vengeance). Where we have failed, He will repay. Already through Moses, God had promised this to Israel: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” But it is a universal truth. And soothing. Because not we, but He sets everything straight!