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Live Peaceably with All

Romans 12:18 (ESV) … “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

If it be possible. If it can be done. This expression implies that it could not always be done. Still it should be an object of desire; and we should endeavour to obtain it.

So far as it depends on you. This implies two things: (1.) We are to do our utmost endeavours to preserve peace, and to appease the anger and malice of others. (2.) We are not to begin or to originate a quarrel. So far as we are concerned, we are to seek peace. But then it does not always depend on us. Others may oppose and persecute us; they will hate religion, and may slander, revile, and otherwise injure us; or they may commence an assault on our persons or property. For their assaults we are not answerable; but we are answerable for our conduct towards them; and on no occasion are we to commence a warfare with them. It may not be possible to prevent their injuring and opposing us; but it is possible not to begin a contention with them; and when they have commenced a strife, to seek peace, and to evince a Christian spirit.

This command doubtless extends to everything connected with strife; and means that we are not to provoke them to controversy, or to prolong it when it is commenced; see Ps. 34:14; Mat. 5:9, 39, 40, 41; Heb. 12:14. If all Christians would follow this command, if they would never provoke to controversy, if they would injure no man by slander or by unfair dealing, if they would compel none to prosecute them in law by want of punctuality in payment of debts or honesty in business, if they would do nothing to irritate, or to prolong a controversy when it is commenced, it would put an end to no small part of the strife that exists in the world.[1]

[1] Barnes, A. (1884–1885). Notes on the New Testament: Romans (R. Frew, Ed.; pp. 281–282). Blackie & Son.

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