Read Romans 12
A Living Sacrifice
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This chapter marks the turning point in Romans from a focus on doctrine (chapters 1-11) to a focus on applying our faith to our day-to-day lives (chapters 12-16). We have asked ourselves, “What does this mean?” countless times over the last eleven chapters, and now we can ask ourselves, “Am I doing what the text says?”
In fact, Romans 12 is full of practical ways we can live out our faith as Christians. We are given tools and guidelines for how to live. We need to be humble, think with sober judgment, love genuinely, hold fast to what is good, show honor to one another, and much more. Are we really living out these instructions that Paul gave us? Ask yourself:
- Am I using the gifts God has given me to build up the body?
- Am I sincerely loving the people around me and putting others first?
- Am I constantly praying and patiently going through tribulation?
- Am I blessing those who persecute me?
- Am I associating with the lowly and living in harmony with others?
Rather than just focusing on the outward actions of a Christian life, Romans 12 also equips us with how to handle mental battles we face. Sometimes we get frustrated that thoughts of shame plague our thought patterns. Our past addictions lie to us, saying temporary pleasure is “greater” than what God has in store for us. Our minds are not meant to stay in these areas. These battles come, and we can’t negotiate our way to inner peace. But, we can be encouraged by verse 2 that there is hope. It is God who changes us for the better, and through His power (not ours), we can be restored. Spending time with Him and filling our minds with His Word are ways we can fight back against the enemy (Ephesians 6:14-18) and overcome.
- How can you take steps to living out your faith today?
- What is an area of your life that needs God’s restoration?
- What does it mean for you to not conform to the present age?
One way to study the Bible deeper is to compare our modern-day translation to the original Greek text. The richness of the original word choice can help us understand Paul’s writing in a new way. Let’s explore the original meaning for the words “conformed, world, transformed, and renewal” in the first half of verse 2. In Greek, these words convey the following meanings:
- Conformed – To conform one’s mind and character to another’s pattern
- World – The present age; men controlled by the thoughts and pursuits of this present time
- Transformed – Transformed after being with; transfigured; the change of moral character for the better
- Renewal – Change of heart and life achieved by God’s power.
Now, let’s put these meanings in context of Romans 12:2. We read the following:
Do not conform your mind and character to the patterns and pursuits of the present time; but be changed for the better (after being with God) and through His power, your heart, life, and mind will be changed, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Check out this video to learn how to do a Greek study on your own using BibleHub.com.
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1 thought on “Romans 12”
All of what Paul instructs believers to do is not a one time or occasional choice but an every moment practice. Transformation starts in our thoughts/minds which then informs our behavior. This is a personal responsibility we should never take lightly knowing what Christ did for us. It’s the greatest exchange ever, his death and sacrifice for our sin, and then we becoming living sacrifices unto him! Paul moves from the theological “why” to the practical “what” in this chapter in how to live redeemed in a fallen world. It’s a challenge and a learning curve for sure as we swim upstream against a divisive culture. V21 challenges “Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.”