In the last several months I have had the privilege of taking a group of folks through a 12-week study of “What it means to be a Romans 12 Christian”. I thought I would share some of that with you this time.
Paul tells us in chapters 1 through 11 about the mercies of God and in Chapter 12 he urges us to “commit” to God by offering our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him.
What does that look like? It looks like a big word. RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships? That’s what I said…
Our relationship with: God (verses 1)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.
Our relationship with: the world (verse 2)
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God,
Our relationship with: ourselves (verses 3 - 8)
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; 7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
Our relationship with: other believers (verses 9 – 11)
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another. 11 Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
Our relationship with: unbelievers. (verses 4 – 21)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. 20 But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
Romans 12 tells us how we should deal in those relationships. Is it an easy path to follow? No, but it is what God wants of us.
Commit our bodies? Tell God you’re all in? How is your relationship to the world? (Remember, we are in it but not of it.) If you look inward at yourself, how do think of yourself? Do you like what you see or are you pretending to be what you think people want you to be?
How about your relationship with other believers? Are you honest in how you treat them? Honoring them and sharing with them in real ways, meeting their needs as those opportunities arise?
Then we come to the unbelievers and those who persecute you, or mock you because of your beliefs. Can you forgive someone who has offended you or hurt you? Can you BLESS them? Can you ask God to bless them, not give them what you think they deserve?
That’s what it takes to be a Romans 12 Christian. That’s what God wants from us. Again, I ask, is it an easy road? Again, I say, “NO!”, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it can happen and when you walk that path, the joy that comes is worth the effort.