The Epistle to the Romans: Romans 12:1-8

Romans 12:1‑8  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Chapter 12, Verses 1-8
The apostle has completed the doctrinal part of his letter to the Christians at Rome, and now turns to the practical application of it in their lives. What follows is not what one needs to do, and to be, in order to be saved; in order to go to heaven; O no; we have already seen in God's Word His way of salvation.
Faith is reckoned as righteousness to us who "believe on Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Rom. 4:22-5:222And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 4:22‑5:2).
The 12th chapter opens up a subject of very great importance for young Christians: the subject of how a Christian should live, if he or she would please God. And should we not seek to please Him who has done everything for us?
“I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies (or compassion) of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
So the chapter begins. The apostle is laying before the children of God an earnest desire that the truth they have learned in the 6th chapter should be put into full practice. You will always find in the Scriptures that connected with the unfolding of doctrine, there is an application of it in a practical way to the believer's life.
So it is here. Consider the mercies of God, as we have seen them portrayed in this Epistle: man, a guilty sinner, under condemnation, yet the object of divine mercy; mercy, or compassion so great, so wonderful, that to get its measure, we have to compare Rom. 3:99What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; (Romans 3:9) to 20, with 5:1-11 and 8:1, 16-39; and again, looking at the Jews in chapters 9 to 11, what mercy is there made known! Now in view of these deep compassions of God, ought not every Christian, reckoning himself, according to the 6th chapter, dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, to refuse to allow sin to reign in his mortal body to obey its lusts; and never to yield his members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; but rather to yield himself to God as alive from among the dead, and his members instruments of righteousness to God?
It is this, then, to which our thoughts were already directed, as we read chapter 6, that the Spirit of God brings afresh before us as we begin the 12th chapter. A dozen times in the Epistles we find "I (or we) beseech you," addressed to Christians about their ways. In a few cases the translators have used "exhort" instead of "beseech" for the same Greek word in the original.
A servant of the Lord who knew the ancient Greek well, has said that the word may indeed be rightly translated "beseech" and "exhort" where fitting, but the full meaning attached to it is the calling upon a person so as to stimulate him to anything.
God is not content to give us only forgiveness of sins, and eternal life; He loves us so much that He would have us like Himself in our ways. And the wish expressed in the first verse is particularly for young Christians, though it is for old Christians too. If you have never given your body to God, a living sacrifice, won't you do so now? His Word says "holy", and if it is to be "acceptable to God", your body must not be a place where sin is allowed. He has told you of His love for you, from which nothing can separate you; now let that house in which you live be devoted to Him from henceforth until the Lord comes. "This", the verse tells us, "is your reasonable (intelligent) service.”
Verse 2. Not conformed but transformed; the two don't go together; they are as, opposite as the north and south poles. H am going on with the present order of things, seeking what the world can give me of pleasure and satisfaction, I shall not know the transformation that the renewing of my mind should have wrought in me, and the peace and comfort which every Christian may have, by living according to God's good and acceptable and perfect will. Happiness, it has been truly said, comes to the believer through obedience. Let us thank God for this precious verse, and make its truth a ruling principle in our lives.
Verses 3-8. If in the second verse we are reminded of the Son of God, who, as He passed in manhood through the world which He had made, never did His own will, was ever the obedient One, in the third verse we are reminded that He, the meek and lowly One, never needed, as we do, a warning word against high-mindedness.
Low thoughts of ourselves become us; we are to think soberly (or so as to be wise, to have a sober judgment), as God has dealt to each of us a measure of faith. And in speaking of this, the apostle manifests that he has learned the lesson for himself, for it is, "through the grace given unto me", he says, that he addresses the believers at Rome regarding it. How different all this is from the character of the world in which we live! We are in another atmosphere altogether, here.
At this point (verse 4) a subject which has an important place in 1st Corinthians, in Ephesians, and in Colossians is introduced, -the "one body" of Christ. We read in 1 Cor. 12:1313For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13) concerning all true Christians,
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
This divinely made organism cannot be destroyed; but as a truth of God it may be, and sad to say, it has been, by many given a secondary place.
In the Epistle to the Romans the truth of the "one body" of Christ is brought in to teach believers some primary lessons which belong to their new relationship one to another. In verse 4 the natural body is referred to; it has many members, and they have different purposes. With our eyes we see; with our ears we hear; with our tongues we speak; with our feet we walk; and so on. What a wonder that God should show us in the example of our human body the working of the unseen, but not unknown, body of Christ, His people, made one by the coming of the Holy Spirit. One body in Christ, though we be many, is a marvelous fact; would that all God's children knew it, and gave it its true place in their lives!
And, in verse 5, we find something we could not say of our natural bodies; it is only true of the spiritual organism, the body in Christ into which all believers are formed by the Holy Spirit. We are members one of another; each separately a member of that body, and all of us members of each other. Does this not tell us of a wonderfully precious relationship in Christ?
The sixth verse speaks of gifts, God's gifts; or we may say Christ's gifts, for the riches of the heart of God are ours through Christ and in Christ. The gifts here mentioned refer to this new relationship of which we have been speaking, and all of them are to be used for the good of one another. So we have "prophecy", "ministry" (referring to service for God's people, not exactly speaking to them in exhortation, but serving them in love); "teaching", "exhorting", "giving", "ruling", and "showing mercy.”
(To be continued, D. V.)