A STUDY IN THE 12TH CHAPTER OF ROMANS
By Sylvia Bunn
REFERENCE SCRIPTURE: Romans, Chapter 12
I have heard this scripture referenced so many times over the years. Verses 1, 2 and 3 are wonderful in and of themselves. Like many others they can stand alone offering single servings of strength in times of temptation or difficulty. However, I believe there are great treasures to be discovered in Godís word ONLY when you take time to consider the context in which a single verse is written.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (KJV)
The idea to live morally right is necessary to the Christian walk, and these three verses are a wonderful foundation. We are instructed to be careful in our thoughts, actions and choices. Presenting ourselves as "holy, acceptable unto God" and not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, can be simply put as: "Behave yourself and don't be self-righteous."
Wonderful tidbits of instruction for Godís child!
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (KVJ)
Paul compares us to body parts Ė those parts making up the body of Christ. He does not group us as being exactly alike. He groups us in our cooperation.
As I ponder this, while keeping in mind I Corinthians, Chapter 12, I am reminded that we cannot serve as the body of Christ without each other. Every part is necessary to accomplish the goals of sharing the gospel and preserving fellowship.
"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." (KJV)
Early in the Christian walk it is very difficult to see a personís gift (or gifts), much less their ministry. I believe the Holy Spirit takes time to teach each of us and to build our character. God will use us for his work from the very beginning, but as much as we have the desire to serve God, many times we cannot recognize what our place of service is in the Body.
As we mature, we should have the fortitude to ask wise and trusted brothers or sisters to list the gifts they recognize in us. It can be difficult to accept what others may see, but it can help an individual realize what ministry God is developing. Paul insists we should WAIT ON OUR MINISTRY. Godís method and timing are necessary.
"Let love be without dissimulation; abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." (KJV)
Verses 9 through 16 describe ways we should live alongside each other as fellow brothers and sisters. Paul recognized, perhaps more than anyone, how "human" we can be. He spoke often of fighting the flesh in his own personal battles. He tells us how to treat each other, even when another Christian is not acting cordially. We are to take care of one another and to share in our victories and our struggles.
ROMANS 12: 17-21
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written: Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (KJV)
Even with non-Christians and in secular situations we are to remember who we are and to whom we belong. It is easy to justify harsh language and behavior when we feel we have been attacked or abused. However, God says, "Vengeance is mine!" We may have to remove ourselves from a situation, but Paul tells us to return good to our enemies.
Early in this article I mentioned wonderful treasures could be discovered when studying the scriptures in context. In Romans, Chapter 12, I have found several. The obvious are those telling us to live a holy life in our thoughts and actions, and to not think we are better than others. These are great foundations to remember, especially when we are fighting the ego and want our own way. Other treasures made clear to me are that we should come to know what our personal gifts are and what ministry God is developing in us as an individual.
In addition to not seeing myself as better than others, I should not think of myself DIFFERENTLY than what God has created me to be. My gifts are the gifts He has chosen for me Ė my ministry is His ministry, not of my own choosing.
Many times we pick up the wrong hat to wear for Christ. We find ourselves serving in a capacity God has not designed for us. It is so important to know your individual place of service and not to take someone elseís place. You are not helping yourself, the other person OR Godís work when you wear the wrong hat.
Remember, God made you special . . . and especially for a work for Him. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." God created good works before we were created, but He has ordained us to accomplish those good works and it is His design as to what good works each of us is prepared to fulfill.
Sylvia Bunn is the mother of four sons and a stay-at-home grandmother living in Alabama. Her husband went Home to be with Jesus almost four years ago. His departure sparked a new surge in Sylviaís writing that was dormant for many years. Her desire is for her life experiences to be used to glorify Godís name.
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