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Romans 12:9– Unfeigned love

30-11-2021 - Posted by Hans

Let love be unfeigned.

As a logical continuation of seven specific effects of grace (charismata), from here to verse 13 Paul lists twelve general characteristics in which grace manifests itself. Not as a series of commands or in the imperative mood, although the current translations give that impression. But Paul does not ask or command; he determines as if they were observations. He does not write, “Let love be unfeigned” (subjunctive), nay, “Love [is] unfeigned.”

The word for unfeigned is literally translated: non-hypocritical. In Greek, “hypokrites” denotes an actor: one who feigns or pretends to do something. An actor plays a part in front of the stage and for as long as the performance lasts. Then Paul does not say: love should not be like that. No, that’s not love. For love (Gr. agape) is by its very nature not a temporary outer role, but a permanent inner decision.

Love is also not dependent on circumstances or on the appreciation of others. Agapé love is separate from feelings. Not because feelings should not play a role, but because agapé love does not depend on them. Agapé love is not a feeling but an act of unconditionally giving space to the other. After all, God allocates a place to everyone and in this way He gives space to every creature. Because “God is love”! (1John 4:8,16).