Called to New Life in Christ
Adult 1 Sunday School Class Romans 12:1-8 May 26, 2019
Theme: People often engage in a me-first way of thinking, which results in conflict and makes cooperation difficult. How do people learn to work together? Paul compares the church to a body and encourages believers to see themselves as individual members that work in sync with all the other members.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scripture (responses are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses
* Romans 12:1 and 2, “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. 2. 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.”
The first 11 chapters of Romans, Paul sets forth his theme of the Gospel message: Man’s need of salvation, God’s way of salvation, a new life in Christ, and Israel in the plan of God. In Chapter 12, Paul reviews Christian conduct in our relationship with God and to each other. The doctrinal emphasis on presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice (external); and being transformed by the renewing of our minds (internal), are key components of Christian conduct. Paul wants us to enjoy the grace and mercies of God through our faith in Christ resulting from His death and resurrection on the cross. We are to be a living sacrifice, dead to sin and living in the new life of the Spirit. We are to conduct ourselves that are pleasing to God and at all times, and not just during certain times of the week.
We are not to be a part of, or be led by the world in its mores, but lead by the Spirit by a transformation in the renewing of our minds. We should undergo a radical change in our looks and actions, but more importantly in our thoughts and attitude toward God. (i.e. 2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul says that we are to be transformed from the inside – out. We are to be more concerned about the Spirit and not the flesh. We are to continually grow in the Spirit and becoming a part of the new order that has already come in Christ. Christians are communal (community of saints) and not individualist.
* v.3, “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.”
This verse is the essence of humility. Paul exhorts us to not think ourselves better than someone else; and that God’s grace is given to all believers and all gifts are important and should be used for the benefit of all; and not to be horded for ourselves. Remember, if we are conceited, we have nothing that we did not receive.
* v.4 and 5, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another.”
Here Paul compares the human body to the “Body of Christ”, the church. Both bodies have different members (i.e. parts or individuals), and each part has a function. Even though some parts may be more visible than others, since God made them, the comparison as to which are more important should be left up to Him. In the church, some functions may be seen, and others may be behind the scenes, but to God no less important. In the human body, an eye is not a foot, and a mouth is not an ear. Yet each has its function, and the body works best when all parts work together. The same goes for the “Body of Christ.” When a part (s) wants to disruptively go off on its own, then we have chaos.
* v.6,7,and 8, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8. 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.”
Paul affirms that all gifts should be used for the benefit of all, and that the quality of its use is more important than the quantity or the gift itself. Let those who excel in a particular gift, let them perfect it and us it. Giving should be from the heart and not as a way of gaining recognition.
For those who are leaders, they should lead with enthusiasm as an example for others to follow. Those who reluctantly lead without enthusiasm just to get by, are doing a disservice to the members and to themselves. Many departments need good people, but they decline and say that they are unfit or unworthy to serve, when the real reason is disinclination and laziness.
Finally, we must show charity to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We must also show forgiveness to those who have wronged us. When we do, we must do it with a grateful heart so that the person that you are helping or forgiving really sees that you are serious and that you truly cared about their condition.
Christ’s second commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself, and when you love others you are truly loving God.