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Bible Commentaries
Romans 12

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-21


Chapters 12-16.


1. The Body as a Willing Sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2 .)

2. Service. (Romans 12:3-8 .)

3. The Daily Walk in Holiness. (Romans 12:9-21 .)

Romans 12:1-2 .

Grace calls for obedience. After God has made known the riches of His grace, the fulness of the Gospel, His Spirit shows how believers should walk in a world of sin and tribulation. The first thing is to present the body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. This connects with the truth of Romans 6:19 , “yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” “The body is the instrument of the spirit; and this so completely, that, if it be laid hold for Him, there is no part of the practical life but must, of necessity, be His. The feet are used to walk at His bidding, the hands to employ ourselves in His things, the tongue to speak for Him and nothing else, the ear to hear His words; the eye also, so that whatever it looks upon, it will look upon as being under His control” (Numerical Bible). It is plain that the whole life thus finds its government.” And this yielding of the body, giving it as a living sacrifice, is our intelligent service. It is the needful thing so that all which is written in the sixth chapter may become a practical thing in our lives. Is this presentation of the body as a living sacrifice an act done once for all (as some teach), or is it a daily yielding? It must be done continually. And it becomes possible to go on presenting the body thus, under all circumstances, if we remember the mercies of God, what God in Christ has done for us and in what a wonderful position He has put us in His own Son. But it needs constant watchfulness, prayer, meditation on the Word and self-judgment.

In doing this the believer will be able to carry out the exhortation, “be not conformed to this world (age).” A soul in touch with Christ, knowing the mercies of God in redemption, cannot enjoy the world. Well has it been said “true joy in the Lord renders the soul in which it dwells incapable of enjoying what the world esteems pleasure. Natural pleasures are the solace of that which is essentially alien of God.” The present age is evil and Christ died to deliver us from this present evil age. Satan is the god of this age. It is not controlled by the Spirit of God. Therefore friendship with the world, conformity to it, is enmity to the cross of Christ. Separation from it is God’s demand, for the cross of Christ has made us dead to the world and the world dead unto us. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is the work of the Spirit of God in us. The inward man is to be renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16 ); and this will be so as we daily present our bodies as the living sacrifice.

Romans 12:3-8

Service is mentioned next. This is to be rendered in humility and according to the measure of faith as God has dealt to every man, who is a believer. Here the body, that is, the church, is touched upon. In first Corinthians and Ephesians the truth concerning the church and the different gifts is more fully revealed. All believers are members of that body, and as in the human body not all members have the same office, so in the one body there are different gifts bestowed by grace. Each must take his place given to him in that body and render the service unto which he is called and thus demonstrate the divine truth, that we are one body in Christ, and individually members one of the other. Ministry in the Word stands first and there is also ministry in other ways. The latter are, giving, ruling (or leading) and showing mercy. Giving is to be in simplicity (or liberality); ruling is to be in diligence and showing mercy in cheerfulness. The emphasis here is not so much upon the different gifts as it is upon the faithful exercise of the gift.

Romans 12:9-21

The daily walk in holiness is unfolded in these verses. These are precious exhortations and every Christian should read them often and order his daily life accordingly. Love stands first, for it is the great essential of the divine nature. He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16 ). It is to be unfeigned. Love seeketh not her own and therefore we are to prefer in honor one another. “Not slothful in business” is often misunderstood and many have thought it means devotion to a secular business. But the correct translation is, “In diligence, not slothful.” Then there is rejoicing in hope, patience in suffering, prayer, sympathy with others and many other blessed things into which we cannot enter in detail. The child of God desires all these things and the Spirit of God is with us to produce these blessed fruits in our lives.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Romans 12". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/romans-12.html. 1913-1922.
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