Thursday, October 18, 2007

Romans 12 overview

Romans 12 is filled with relational instructions, John Piper says that Romans 12 is, “How justified Christians Love each other.” He means that the people who have been justified already, and the ones that will be justified in the future (the elect), are suppose to act toward each other, we are, “To love without hypocrisy… Abhor what is evil…Bless those who persecute you…Repay no evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the site of all men…etc.”
In the first part of the chapter we are told, “ I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present you bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” The word “Therefore” is pointing us back to the forerunning passages of Romans. Because we are justified by Jesus’ death, we should always be in the act of giving our bodies as a living sacrifice. The word used for bodies in the Greek is “soma” this term is used to not only describe our physical bodies, but our emotional souls as well. So, not only the physical, but the spiritual should be given unto Him, not one part of the whole, but the whole itself.
“For this is your reasonable service.” So, this giving ourselves as a living sacrifice would just make since because of the love that Christ showed to us on the cross. There is no way that we will ever be able to repay God for the things He has done for us. So, to look at this from a historical standpoint, at one time when another saved a man he would give himself as a servant to the man that saved his life. So, we should view our salvation in the same light. Because Christ died for us to save us from our own death, we should always be giving our whole being to Him; we are God’s servants being given to Him because it is our reasonable service.
Looking back at the beginning of verse 1 where it is said, “ by the mercies of God,” The topics that I have previously stated are not things that we have brought around for ourselves, but by God’s ever-present mercy in the Christian’s life are we able to give ourselves to Him. Because of this mercy we should never be conformed to this world, but be, “in the world but not of the world.” We are aliens in this world, sojourners in the land that God has placed us in.
Moving on to verses 3-8, in this passage of Scripture we are told not to think of ourselves more highly than another, that there are many members of the Church, and the Church is compared to a body, there is no part of the body that is higher than the other, there are parts that appear more important, but if we are found to be missing a small portion that is unseen, say the liver, then we will not live long. So is the body of the Church, some parts appear more important, like the pastor, and other not to important, the janitor, but without the janitor the Church would be dirty, and the pastor would be unable to preach a God glorifying message because he would be cleaning all the time. Therefore every part po the body is important.
It goes on to talk about the gifts of grace that are bestowed upon Christians, none of them more important than the other, but all extremely necessary. In verse 6 it says, “ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.” We do not have these gifts for our own doing, but by God’s grace we have them to do the work that He has set aside for us to accomplish. Allow me to reiterate, these gifts are not for your own purposes, but for the One who has given them to you, we are to use them for the glory of God, and only the glory of God, that is only the purpose for these gifts, nothing more, nothing less.
As we continue to verses 9-21, in this segment we are given the marks of a true Christian. These are things we, as Christians, should be striving toward, this list should be at the fore of all of our thinking at all times, by living out these commands we show God’s love for the sinner, to a people that normally might never hear about the ever-present, never ending, unfathomable depths of God’s glorious amazing Love. This is a section of scripture that should be as prominent in Christian teaching as John 3:16. We should be saturated by this part of scripture.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil fore evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably, with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty give him drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12: 9-21

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