17Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.
17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Biblical ethics are supernatural ethics. The call of the Lord Jesus Christ upon His followers is different from humanity’s own fallen instinct. Christ’s call is a fundamentally other worldly way of life – it is what James calls wisdom from above. When Christians encounter evil against them, the natural instinct is retaliation. A person cannot carry out the injunctions given by the apostle Paul in this passage. In this sermon on Romans 12:17–18 titled “Be Different,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says the story of humanity is one of hitting back and retaliation. People scoff at turning the other cheek as it is viewed as a weakness. While Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages Christians not to retaliate, the Scriptures raise one’s thoughts beyond just the negative. When the Christian encounters evil against them, their response is to put the evil action against them in the larger context of their entire Christian outlook. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that Christians do not act on instinct but instead should consider the gospel, Christ, and their witness to the Christian faith. Christians should fight for peace but not peace at any cost, warns Dr. Lloyd-Jones. Listen as he explains the important nuance of contending for the truth while at the same time being peacemakers.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.