“August 12–18. Romans 7–16: ‘Overcome Evil with Good’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“August 12–18. Romans 7–16,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
As he opened his epistle to the Romans, Paul greeted Church members in Rome by calling them “beloved of God” who were “called to be saints.” He remarked that their “faith [was] spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:7–8). Even though Paul spent much of his epistle correcting false ideas and flawed behaviors, it seems he also wanted to assure these new Christian converts that they truly were Saints who were beloved of God. In a humble show of empathy, Paul acknowledged that he had felt like a “wretched man” at times (Romans 7:24), but the gospel of Jesus Christ had given him power to overcome sin (see Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 7:22–27 [in the Bible appendix]). He went on to share tender counsel for all of us who struggle to feel beloved and for whom saintliness may seem out of reach. “Be not overcome of evil,” he said—both evil in the world and evil in ourselves—“but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Even after entering into “newness of life” through the ordinance of baptism (Romans 6:4), perhaps you have felt some of the inner conflict Paul described in Romans 7—the “warring” between the natural man and our righteous desires (Romans 7:23). But Paul also spoke of hope in Romans 8:23–25. What reasons for this hope do you find in chapter 8? You might also look for blessings that come from having “the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). How can you seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost more fully in your life?
Just a few years after Paul wrote this epistle, the Saints in Rome suffered horrific persecutions. What do you find in Romans 8:17–39 that might have helped these Saints when persecution came? How might these words apply to you and the trials you currently face?
Look for connections between these verses and this counsel from Sister Linda S. Reeves: “I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, ‘Was that all that was required?’ I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back in Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally. What will it matter … what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?” (“Worthy of Our Promised Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 11).
Decide what you will do to “daily remember and recognize” God’s love for you.
Paul used these terms to teach that some of God’s children were predestined, or appointed beforehand, to receive special blessings and duties so that they could bless all the nations of the world (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Election”). This was based on God’s foreknowledge of His children’s willingness to follow Jesus Christ and become like Him (see also Ephesians 1:3–4; 1 Peter 1:2). However, Paul emphasized in Romans 9–11 that no matter how we come into the house of Israel—or become a member of the Church—all people must receive salvation individually through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His commandments.
The last five chapters of Romans contain dozens of specific instructions regarding how Saints should live. You may not be able to apply all of this counsel at once, but listen to the Spirit, and He can help you find one or two that you could start working on today. Share your desires with your Heavenly Father in prayer, and ask for His help.
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
To help your family understand more about the “warring” described by Paul in this verse, consider sharing the story about the wolves in Elder Shayne M. Bowen’s article “Agency and Accountability” (New Era, Sept. 2012, 8–9).
Elder Wilford W. Andersen’s message “The Music of the Gospel” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 54–56) can help illustrate what Paul teaches about the law, works, and faith. Your family might enjoy discussing his talk and trying to dance with and without music. How is dancing without music like obeying the gospel without faith?
How has studying the word of God brought us the blessings described in these verses? Perhaps family members could share some of their favorite scriptures (see also 2 Nephi 25:26).
What does it mean to make ourselves “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God”? (Romans 12:1).
Your family might benefit from studying Paul’s counsel about judging and arguing about the personal preferences of others. Perhaps you could discuss appropriate ways to respond when others’ choices differ from yours. How can we be more mindful of how our own choices affect others? The videos “Judging Others? Stop It!” and “Looking through Windows” (LDS.org) could provide additional insights on this topic.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.