Bless them which persecute you - Ευλογειτε, Give good words, or pray for them that give you bad words, καταρασθε, who make dire imprecations against you. Bless them, pray for them, and on no account curse them, whatever the provocation may be. Have the loving, forgiving mind that was in your Lord.
Bless, and curse not - Bless only; or continue to bless, however long or aggravated may be the injury. Do not be provoked to anger, or to cursing, by any injury, persecution, or reviling. This is one of the most severe and difficult duties of the Christian religion; and it is a duty which nothing else but religion will enable people to perform. To curse denotes properly to devote to destruction. Where there is power to do it, it implies the destruction of the object. Thus, the fig-tree that was cursed by the Saviour soon withered away: Mark 11:21. Thus, those whom God curses will be certainly destroyed; Matthew 25:41. Where there is not power to do it, to curse implies the invoking of the aid of God to devote to destruction. Hence, it means to imprecate; to implore a curse from God to rest on others; to pray that God would destroy them. In a larger sense still, it means to abuse by reproachful words; to calumniate; or to express oneself in a violent, profane, and outrageous manner. In this passage it seems to have special reference to this.
It is true there are tares among the wheat; in the body of Sabbathkeepers evils are seen; but because of this shall we disparage the church? Shall not the managers of every institution, the leaders of every church, take up the work of purification in such a way that the transformation in the church shall make it a bright light in a dark place? 6T 239.1
What may not even one believer do in the exercise of pure, heavenly principles if he refuses to be contaminated, if he will stand as firm as a rock to a “Thus saith the Lord”? Angels of God will come to his help, preparing the way before him. 6T 239.2
Paul wrote to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2. This entire chapter is a lesson which I entreat all who claim to be members of the body of Christ to study. Again Paul wrote: “If the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Romans 11:16-22. Very plainly these words show that there is to be no disparaging of the agencies which God has placed in the church. 6T 239.3Read in context »