The Way - Day 119 (Romans 12)

Daily Reading:
Romans 12
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
What evidence of God's transformation in you is visible to others? Why is it so important for Christians to stand out from the rest of the world?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 40:1-2
OPTION 2: Proverbs 16:9
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:1-2
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Romans 12 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Romans 12
Romans 12 marks a huge transition in Paul's writing to the Christians at Rome. Thus far (Romans 1-11), Paul's words have been very doctrinal in nature and he has mainly covered the topic of salvation. Very foundational to the doctrine of salvation are three aspects: all men are sinners deserving of God's wrath - condemnation (1:18-3:20), God sent Jesus to provide the righteousness man needed in order to be saved from God's wrath - justification (3:21-5:21), and man's righteousness through Jesus Christ will be demonstrated in his actions - sanctification (6:1-8:39). After providing the most detailed teachings about salvation found in Scripture, Paul then focuses his attention on Israel's response to the salvation given to mankind through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (9:1-11:36). Although Israel has rejected Jesus Christ as the Savior from sin, God's plans have not been ruined and they can be guaranteed He will again bring salvation to the Jews.

Paul's goal was not just to impart information onto his readers so they would have more knowledge, but also to remind them of their responsibility to practice righteousness in their attitudes and actions. Knowledge without application is useless. Since those who had been declared righteous through Jesus Christ were no longer under the power or penalty of sin, they were free to live in God's ways. So, what does living in God's ways look like? Paul answers this question in Romans 12:1-15:13.

Many of Paul's readers had been justified (declared righteous) in the eyes of God and were now indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. As Paul had earlier instructed them, the Holy Spirit empowers the believer to fulfill God's ways (8:4) and enables him to please God; therefore, his daily attitudes and actions will change. Paul writes, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (12:1). This verse is reminiscent of Romans 6:13b where Paul commands believers to "...present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members [bodies] as instruments of righteousness to God." Those who follow Christ are dead to themselves and alive to be used by God for His purposes. Instead of adapting to the world's philosophies and system of values and beliefs, Paul commands us to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (12:2). Being renewed carries the idea of changing the old for new. Old selfish desires should be resisted while the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) in Christ should be obeyed. How is this done? The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to change our thinking, which in turn will change our attitudes and actions. True change cannot be accomplished without the spending time reading God's word.

One of the results of becoming new in Christ is to use your God-given resources and abilities for the benefit of God's work (12:3-8). Every believer is given a spiritual gift(s) to serve God and others. Paul mentions a few of those possible gifts in Romans 12:6-8 - prophesying (proclaiming God's truth), ministering (serving), teaching, exhorting (challenging others in their faith), giving, leading, and showing mercy (see also 1 Corinthians 12:12-20). Although this is not an exhaustive list, God expects His followers to use their giftedness in order to bring attention to His love and mercy.

Following his challenge to use spiritual gifts, Paul begins to define the actions (behavior) and character of a person who love God and others. Most of these are self-explanatory, so I will allow Scripture to speak for itself.

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 for 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 a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:9-21).

Do not miss what Paul is saying here. These short commands are worthy to be obeyed.

Dear God, may my beliefs affect my behavior.