12:1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice — alive, holy, and pleasing to God — which is your reasonable service.
On the basis of all that has been revealed by the Holy Spirit through Paul’s letter to the Romans and all that God has done, he appeals/begs believers to completely give their lives over to serving God as a “living sacrifice”. Paul here uses the picture of the Old Testament animal sacrifices. The animals were laid upon the altar after they had been slaughtered but here he exhorts that believers offer themselves on the altar of service to God as a “living sacrifice” accepted in Christ being sanctified through Him and thus the sacrifice is acceptable to God (Eph. 1: 6). Because of what God has done through Christ it is reasonable for us to serve Him for this is an act of worship.
12:2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God — what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
We can only give ourselves completely over to God if we separate ourselves from the things of the world its fashion and nature (Eph. 4: 22-24, 7, James 4:4). Instead we are to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives changing us into the likeness of Christ that His mind might be in us (Phil. 2: 5 - 7). Only by doing this will we be able to prove what is God’s perfect will for our lives and is that which is acceptable to Him.
Using our Gifts V3 - 8.
12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.
Paul as a minister of Jesus Christ by God’s grace was in a position of authority to give the warning that no one should estimate himself of being of more worth than another (not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance. Amp. Bible) or to think that they are more important than anyone else. Test your ability according to the measure of faith that God has given you.
12:4-5 For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another.
He uses the illustration of the human body to make a point. There are many parts to the body and they all have a different function. Although there are many members in the church they are all part of the one body of Christ. Although we are individuals we are part of one another and are therefore dependent upon each other.
12:6 And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith.
Everyone has a gift given by God that differs according to His grace, we are to use these gifts, not neglect them (2 Tim. 1: 6). If one has the gift of prophecy then he/she has to use it in accord with the amount of faith they have.
12:7 If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach;
If it is to give practical service, (Amp. Bible) ministry then it must be used for that purpose. Those who have a teaching ministry to give themselves over to teaching.
12:8 if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness.
If it is to encourage/exhort then let them give themselves over to doing this. If it is to give then this has to be done generously. The one who has the gift of leadership is to carry it out with all diligence. If it is to do acts of mercy then it has to be done with genuine cheerfulness.
Being Christian V9 - 21.
To be like Christ:
12:9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.
Our love is to be like the love that Christ has for us, sincere. We are to hate all that is evil and to hold tight to all that is good.
12:10 Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another.
As part of the family of God we are to love one another in a kind and affectionate manner, having a regard and care for each other.
12:11-13 Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality.
Not backward in zeal but diligent and earnest in all that we endeavour to do for Christ being full of the Holy Spirit. Rejoice in the hope that we have in Christ and patient through times of trial and suffering. Be faithful and continual in prayer. Contribute to the needs of God's people be ready to provide food and lodgings for the night.
12:14 Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.
Those who persecute or who are cruel in their attitude towards us we are to bless and not curse them.
12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Share in the happiness of those who are happy, if they are sad then in their sorrow.
12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited.
Keep in harmony with one another and do not be filled with pride so that you lift yourself above another thus bringing conflict. Sooner keep company with those who are of a meek and humble spirit. Do not think that you know it all (L.Bible).
12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people.
If someone wrongs you or works evil against you then do not pay back with the same. It is only the love of Christ and by the grace of God that this can be done. Do things in such a way that all may see Christ in you.
12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.
As far as it depends on you live peaceable with all, do not quarrel with anyone.
12:19-20 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God's wrath, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head.
Why should we fulfil the demands of verses 17 and 18? Because we can afford to leave everything in the hands of God who will avenge any wrongs that we suffer. Vengeance is His by sovereign right and not ours. He will reward according to the offence (Deut. 32: 35). Therefore, if our enemies are hungry or thirsty doing good things to them may shame them and possibly turn them to Christ in repentance (Wesley Bible).
12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Finally we should not let ourselves be overwhelm by evil but we must triumph over it by doing good.
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