Overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Paul is writing to Christians in Rome and he is telling them, “The evils you have suffered do not need to define you. The culture in which you live does not need to shape you. You can overcome the evil that was done to you and the evil that is around you.”
What does it look like to overcome evil with good? Everything in Romans 12 is written to people who are in Christ. This chapter begins with the word “Therefore.”
I appeal to you therefore, brothers (12:1).
Everything in Romans 12 is in the light of Romans 1-11, and a two-word summary of these chapters would be “in Christ.” Notice Paul speaks about,
The righteousness through faith that is in Christ Jesus (3:22).
The redemption that is in Christ Jesus (3:24).
No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (8:1).
Faith joins you to Jesus in the bond of a living union, in which what you were is buried with Him because of His death, and you are raised to a new life in which God gives you the power and the presence of His Holy Spirit. The evils you have suffered may have defined the person that you were, but they cannot define the person that you are. It is being in Christ that defines you, and nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (8:39).
That’s the heart of Romans 1-11. Now, says Paul, “Therefore, in the light of all this.… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Is there an evil you are facing right now, and you’re not sure if you can overcome it with good? What difference does it make, knowing you are in Christ?