Romans Chapter Twelve

In this chapter we actually have to pick up the discourse from the end of chapter 8. From chapters 1 through 8 Paul has been expounding the mighty new way of life that has been made possible for us to live through Jesus. He departs from this for three chapters to talk about Israel and then returns to this theme in chapter 12. Having arrived at the point where we have been told fantastic news about how we have been empowered from heaven with a new way to live life, the apostle Paul then says – if this is true – let’s see just what kind of a life we can live - if we want to.

There are times in life when we have to stop and see what we have and what we don’t have. We have to think about it - and these times can change our lives. The key is in realizing what we have and who we are- then all of a sudden, when we thought we didn’t have anything and then realise we have incredibly more than we ever thought possible - we would see life differently – we would have to start living a different life. Its like a man in old worn out shoes and tatty clothes sitting in a lawyer’s office, thinking about all the debt and hard times and about to be told that he has inherited a fortune and is now a multi millionaire – he would have to start thinking differently about how he was going to live – at least he would be thinking differently about how he was going to think. That’s logical!

It is the same with us spiritually – we sometimes need a wake up call to show us what we really have. The truth is – to whom much is given much will be required.

If we had everything we needed right now and could not possibly fail then we would approach tomorrow with a different frame of mind. We would not be afraid, or worried. We would have a new freedom. Life would have a new logic.

Paul begins to unfold this new logic. In fact in verse 1 where the King James version states that ‘this is our reasonable service’, I have used the words ‘this is the logical way to serve him’ because the Greek word used for ‘reasonable’ is LOGICOS, and the much stronger and intentioned word here is ‘logical’.

Paul proceeds to tell us that we have to get a new mindset in order to see ourselves as we really are and to be able to live the life we really should live. Then follows a series of encouragements and challenges about attitudes of unselfishness. After this come a number of directives concerning helpful and productive ways to flow together as a community of faith. This chapter is rich in wisdom and encouragement and challenge and displays the transformational power of the Gospel if it is applied and lived out from a position of FREEDOM – rather than in subservience to a code of LAW

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1 I encourage you therefore my friends, through the loving support of God that you offer yourselves bodily to God to live totally for him. This sets you aside for his purpose which delights him - and this is the logical way to serve him.

2  And don’t be shaped by the ways of the world, but be transformed by acquiring a new mindset, so that you will be able to discern what is the most appropriate and purposeful and complete fulfillment of God’s will for your life.

3  And speaking from out of my own particular grace and gifting I want every one of you also to have the sense to regard yourselves according to how God has given you faith for a particular grace and gifting and not to overrate yourselves.

4 For as our natural bodies have many parts, and every part has a different function

5 So we – and there are many of us – make up the one body in Christ and therefore we belong to one another.

6 Therefore having different gifts and abilities according as to how God has given them to us, for instance prophecy, then we should prophesy according to how much faith God has given us

7 and if it is serving other’s needs, then we ought to focus on doing that well, or if it is teaching, then to focus on teaching

8 And the same goes for one who is an encourager, or if you are a giver, do it sincerely and without fuss. If you are an organiser, organise carefully, and if you are compassionate to those who are going through it, remember to smile.

9 Don’t just pretend to be loving. Avoid any hurtful act and be the first to do good to people.

10 Be warm and kind to one another and show it, and express care by going out of your way to give one another dignity.

11 Don’t be lazy in your responsibilities by putting things off, but be passionate in your life of service to the Lord.

12 Have a cheerful air of expectation about you, especially when things seem to be going wrong, and be consistent in relating to God in prayer.

13 Be generous when it comes to the needs of other Christians and practise hospitality towards them.

14 Speak well of those who treat you badly. Speak well of people, not evil of them.

15 Celebrate with those who have something to celebrate, and commiserate with those who are saddened by hard times.

16 Give the same consideration to other peoples’ circumstances as you would give to your own. Don’t have big ideas about yourself, but be involved with the everyday things that everyday people do. That way you won’t be having yourself on.

17 Don’t feel you have to pay back on everybody and get even with them. Be transparent before others, so that what they see is what they get.

18 If you possibly can, live at peace with everybody.

19 My dear people, don’t try to vindicate yourselves and get all worked up about what others have done to you, because the Word of God says, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will make sure there is justice, says the Lord.’

20 Therefore if the one who has been hostile towards you is going hungry, then feed him, and if he is thirsty, then give him a drink. This kind of behaviour from you will be like a purifying fire that will burn in his mind and not go away.

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