Thoughts on Romans 12

Romans 12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
If the Gentile Christians at Rome were justified and saved, it was through the mercy of God (see chap. 11:30). It was so likewise with any Jews there. It was all the mercy of God. The nation would finally be received back again on the ground of mercy, after Gentile apostasy. It is on account of the tender mercies of God that our bodies are to be given up a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. What a different morality from that under law! Under it, man in the flesh had to obey given commands, and so give righteousness to God; here the flesh is given up: I am laid on the altar of God, and my body is presented a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God (compare 2 Cor. 4:1010Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:10)). It is as we bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus will be manifest in our mortal bodies. The ministry of righteousness has written Christ on our hearts, and it is as the death has power over the old nature that the life will flow out. Christ has given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Eph. 5:1, 21Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. (Ephesians 5:1‑2)). We are called to be imitators of God as dear children. We are identified with Christ, dead and risen; let our walk be worthy of this position, and flowing from it. This is Christian morality. But if I am dead and risen, what have I to do with the world? Conformity to the world is a shame for a Christian. It is linked with the flesh, on which the ministry of the Spirit writes, Death.* If I let the Spirit work, I am transformed by the renewing of my mind; I am learning practically now what good and evil is. I prove daily what is the will of God. Thus the body presented a living sacrifice to God, non-conformity to the world, and transformation by the renewing of the mind, fill up the Christian morality in this passage. When
*With Israel in the flesh there was no world, except the nations outside, with whom they were forbidden to have intercourse. Godly and ungodly were all mixed up together, and no separation was there. They had an outward religion suitable to the flesh, of which godly and ungodly all partook. The sin of Christendom is, going back to this state of things.
we are thus devoted to the Lord, we find ourselves among a new set of people, unknown before, but now known to us. They are members of the body of Christ. Are we to seek high things for ourselves here, as we did when in the world? No; just the contrary. We are not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
The truth of the body of Christ is here practically brought in to show the relative bearing of Christians to one another. All members have not the same office. We are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. The members of our bodies, though many, do not interfere with one another; so it is in the Church of God. There are different gifts; let each one use his gift according to his faith, in responsibility to the Lord. Here perfect liberty of ministry is brought out. There is no such thing mentioned here as setting apart by man. Every one, if he has a gift, is responsible to the Lord to use it. This is not the license of the flesh, but the liberty of the Spirit. Notice also, these gifts flow throughout the one body, and not many bodies: "We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Exhortations follow, which enter into the minutest concerns of daily life. Do I really love a person? Let not shyness, conventional usages, or selfishness, hinder me from showing it. Do I love my brother? Let me in honor prefer him. Have I an honest earthly calling? I am not to be slothful in it, serving the Lord in it all, for He is my Master. Is a saint in need? Help him. Is a saint passing by the road? Open your house to him. Are you persecuted? Bless them that curse you. Do any rejoice? Rejoice with them. Do any weep? Weep with them. Do you love the company of the rich? Walk with men of low estate. Everything is summed up in the little verse, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." If I am insulted, trampled upon, spit upon, like the Lord, what matters it? He gives His power. "When He was reviled, reviled not again;... but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously." 1 Pet. 2:2323Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Peter 2:23). He overcame evil with good, in life; He overcame it in death, and rose conqueror out of it all. Let us be followers of Him.