A Living Sacrifice
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Gifts of Grace
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Marks of the True Christian
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
According to the Old Testament Law, a priest would sacrifice an animal for the sins of the people. It was cut into pieces and placed on the altar. This act brought forgiveness before God for sin. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, did away with that when He was sacrificed on the cross. God made clear several times within the Old Testament, however, that He did not look at the outward appearance, but looked at the heart of each individual instead which was more important.
Paul takes these thoughts of offerings and puts a twist. God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. Dying but living at the same time. This would be the daily laying aside our own desires and submitting to Him. It was the sacrifice of our own will in every situation and mindset. Living in sacrifice again and again throughout our day is the first step.
The second is not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world. This is an outward and inward action. It reaches from what we do to what we think; our very mindset of matters. It’s bringing our actions and thoughts under His authority and not being dictated by the worlds thinking. Many times it involves taking every thought captive on all matters.
How this takes place is his third point of renewing our mind. The renewal of our thought process is only done through the Word of God being sewn into our day and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring the ultimate Voice of reason and conviction on all matters. Without the Word of God in our lives, we will lean on our own understanding and act accordingly.
Paul makes a fascinating point that when we’ve done these we will then be able to know what the will of God is for us.
Way too many times we get ahead of the cart on this process where we look and seek for what God’s will is without the sacrificing of ourselves. This grows to us thinking in our own human point of view or as the world would look at it. We skip the daily application of the Scriptures and expect to discover what He wants from us.
It sounds so ridiculous, but people and we do this all the time. We don’t make the time to invest ourselves in the relationship with God yet expect to have Him bless our efforts and help our choices.
Paul brings in the practical application of what this looks like. The first 8 verses focus on dealing with our own relationship with God. The rest of the chapter is the down-to-earth presentation of how this affects our relationships with others and how we should act and respond.
It’s hard to not read this chapter with fresh eyes. In particular, the first 3 verses are very well known to us. The challenge today is to consider the question with each of the points Paul writes, “Am I doing this?” Reflect with each statement he makes with that question. As he gets more practical through the rest of the chapter, ask yourself the same question. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak practically, boldly and bring to mind areas where this is a need to change things.
Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Denial. Death. Follow. Dying to live.
Romans 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Starting in verse 9 of Romans 12, Paul rattles off a disjointed list of Christian principles. On the surface, it may seem haphazard. In reality, Paul is most likely using a style known as “parenesis.” This type of literature seeks to deliver a barrage of ethical principles with an eclectic flair. There is usually little development as each principle is only mentioned briefly. The header for this section is titled “Marks of the True Christian.” New Testament professor David Alan Black contends that a more accurate summary would be, “Let Love Be Genuine.”
It is true that all of these traits are reproducible in our own strength. We can be diligent and honorable and affectionate without being a follower of Jesus. However, as time goes on, the authenticity of an individual’s faith will be revealed by how well they love God and love people. Those who have been forgiven much will love much. There is simply no avoiding this connection. The counterfeits will be exposed by the fact that their love does not resemble Jesus.
In Luke 7, Jesus says (I’m paraphrasing) that “the proof of forgiveness is love.” Those who have truly experienced the radical forgiveness of Jesus will go on to love extravagantly.
I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2 I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-2 GNB
Romans 12 is an affirmation that evil can only be conquered by love. Jesus proved it, and now He is asking us to emulate it.