“a very awful calling,” that is what Robert Candlish an 1800 Scottish minister called the verse from the end of Romans 12, “a very awful calling,”.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It is important to recognize that God has called you to a life that is just as impossible under your own steam as it would be to perfectly keep the Law of God as Christ Jesus alone has done. This is not a biblical lecture on civil behavior or family values, nor a plea to strive to be a better person.
Unmistakably this is God’s calling for you to be like Jesus Christ through the spirit of Jesus with in you. Candlish finished out the paragraph as quoted by Dr. Boyce saying;
“This surely is a very holy calling. It is a very awful calling. …, ‘Our sufficiency is of God’—of that God who has so dealt with us as he would have us to deal with our fellow-men and fellow-sinners.”
God who has so dealt with us as he would have us to deal with our fellow-men and fellow-sinners.” Remember Jesus teaching parable of the ungrateful forgiven servant who intern refused to forgive his debtor.
From this parable note that this awful calling is an act of gratefulness. We remember how this portion of Paul’s letter began in Romans 12:1 with “because of the mercies of God.” This is an obligation of love, and gratefulness, not a payment to obtain forgiveness. That is what the life of a Christian is and obligation of love and thankfulness.
We are asked to do what God has done out of appreciation. From this principle we ought to be enlightened as to the great principle God has acted upon in the universal scheme of his actions. God has and is in the process of overcoming evil with good.
The location is just outside the entrance to the perfect heaven on earth the garden of Eden. There God drives the stake of his promise in the ground and stands a great guard to prevent humanity from entering into eternity permanently captured in a life of death and alienation. By his sovereign power and an agreement with Jesus his son, God refuses to allow evil to overcome him or us. He sends Adam and Eve off into an earth where the seeds of destruction are growing. There our kind, we would grow, once becoming so full of destruction that all but a few in a boat must be cleansed from the surface.
However, the day came when God’s stake would bear his son on the cross. There triumphing over evil with the greatest and least expected act of good. Up from that grave he arose God’s good over evil to reign. We know for he lives today in our hearts.
From within us is to come the same triumph of good over evil. By the same means, not retaliation rather reconciliation. An awful calling, yes it is so grossly contrary to our human self and nature. It is an act only possible by faith in God who has done it. A faith in Christ Jesus not of ourselves. Rather faith the gift of God’s grace the victory of good over evil.