Sermon Study Guide



A Call to Peace

Romans: From Guilt to Glory (80) - August 9, 2020 - Pastor Alan Cousins


Text:  Romans 12:17-21


Introduction:  One of the things that is so distinctive about Christianity is not only the beauty of the moral life we are called to, but that God realized it would be utterly unobtainable were it not for the Holy Spirit indwelling us and God’s grace enabling us.

The controlling principle of our lives is to lay ourselves on God’s altar and be ready to die for Christ (12:1-2).

We must ask ourselves, “In these difficult trials and circumstances of life, how am I going to be a witness for God?”

How we should serve one another (12:3-16).

How we ought to relate to those who do not profess faith in Christ (12:17-21).

We will miss Paul’s point if we think he is ruling out magistrates, the military, and the judicial systems of bringing justice in an given situation (13:1-7).


Outlining the Passage:


  1.   In verses 17a, 19-20, reject revenge.


  1.   In verse 17b, live right.


  1.   In verse 18, pursue peace.


  1.   In verse 21, overcome evil with good.


I.    REJECT REVENGE (Rom. 12:17a, 19-20) 

Paul warns us to exercise restraint rather than give into the natural instinct to retaliate or seek revenge.

Revenge is a natural instinct of the fallen human soul.

In verse 19, Paul outright repudiates revenge; we are not to claim for ourselves the right which belongs to God for vengeance in this temporal world.

The application of justice and judgment that God Himself metes out will be far better than anything you or I could think of.

As we grow in grace, we will come to the point where we hope that any offenses against us will be made right one day by the mercy of God changing the offender’s heart.

God tells us, “My child, I’ll take care of this. Your job is to love your enemy. I will settle these accounts, trust Me. Leave it to Me.”

In verse 20, Paul says we are to do acts of kindness toward those who have offended us.

If we will do this, it will bring conviction upon those who offend us and possibly it will even lead to their repentance.

“The test of reality in Christian profession is seen when life turns against the believer.” Jim Phillips


II.   LIVE RIGHT (Rom. 12:17b)

Paul tells us to cultivate regard for what is seen as good and right even by unregenerate people.

By this he doesn’t mean to do what is right in the sight of the world as opposed to what God says in His Word.

  Our lives are to confront the lost with the reality of our moral quality and thus be a radiant witness for Jesus Christ.


III.  PURSUE PEACE (Rom. 12:18)


We are to aim for peace:


  •   If possible.


  •   So far as it depends on us.


  •   If there is not peace, let it be the unbeliever’s fault, not ours.



Our tact must be unworldly. It must be distinctly derived from the way Jesus acted in this world when people offended Him.

The new preacher in Pastor Alan’s illustration faced two great challenges:


  •    The first challenge was to initially respond with goodness when he had been attacked by evil words.
  •    The second challenge was when the man who had hurt him became ill, and the preacher continued to love him, overcoming evil with good.





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