“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”  Luke 6:35

But love your enemies.  If we stand up for what’s right, we will have enemies.  They feel justified in their hostility.  But Jesus says, love them anyway.  Hostile people expect hostility in return.  Jesus says, surprise them.

And do good.  This “love” cannot be just benevolent emotions or big talk.  Jesus says, make it practical.  What good thing can you and I do for those who have done bad things to us?

And lend, expecting nothing in return.  Jesus is moving from the general (love your enemies) to the actionable (and do good) to a specific example (and lend, expecting nothing in return).  Loving our enemies will cost us.

And your reward will be great.  Enemies have the power to take, but they do not have the power to return what they have taken.  Jesus does.  Our futures are in his hands, not theirs.  And he is promising a great reward to those who trust him enough to follow him in this way.

And you will be sons of the Most High.  It is no petty godlet who calls us into this hard path.  It is the Most High.  And his greatest glory is that he loves the undeserving.  Jesus says, here is how you can be most clearly identified with him.

For he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Before God, we are all ungrateful and evil.  But Jesus is saying this with reference to the conflicts we find ourselves in.  It is ungrateful and evil enemies we are to love — people who should be grateful and good, but for their own reasons they are not what God wants them to be.  It is such people to whom he is kind.  Good thing for us.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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