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So then, my brothers. In the first eleven chapters, Paul showed us man’s guilt and God’s offer of salvation. Now he shows us the obligation which God places on those who reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ and make themselves part of it. See notes on law at the end of chapter 3. Offer yourselves. You offer yourself! This is your choice of free will. Every Christian is a priest to God (Revelation 1:6). A living sacrifice. This directly contrasts with the sacrifices of the Law (Hebrews 9:11-14). We offer no dead animals on Jewish altars. After we have been made clean by the bloody-death of Christ, we give ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. This is the true worship. The living sacrifice is not a sin-offering to put us right with God. Rather, it is a praise-offering, and our good works are true worship to God. We do not mistreat and mutilate our bodies as some Gentiles do in honor to their “god,” but we use our total being to live Christ’s life. Compare Matthew 25:31-40.
Do not conform outwardly. This is an evil age/world (Galatians 1:4) and Satan is the evil god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). The exact opposite of “offering yourselves as a living sacrifice,” is to let the world squeeze you into its mold. But let God transform you. This is written to Christians who are already new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5). After being put right with God, the new Christian is still by nature a part of this world (Ephesians 2:1-10). The Christian is continually faced with the CHOICE of living Christ’s life in this world (Romans 5:3-4). By a complete change of your mind. See Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 1:16. “Do not restrain the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) implies that it is possible to do so. Then you will be able to know. Only one who has been united to Christ can know this (1 Corinthians 2:14), but it is a learning process as well (Romans 2:18).
And because of God’s gracious gift to me. His authority as an apostle. Do not think of yourselves more highly. Spiritual gifts were likely as much of a problem (or would be a problem) as at Corinth. Rank has no place in the messianic community (compare John 13:1-17). Everything you have has been given to you (1 Corinthians 4:7). Each of us is only doing our job, nothing more (1 Corinthians 3:5). To the amount of faith. In one sense, faith is a gift from God (James 2:19; Acts 11:18), but here it means supernormal faith (gifts) from the Spirit. We are to think of our talents as gifts from God as well.
We have many parts. Our human bodies are made up of many different parts, each fulfilling its separate function for the good of the whole.
In the same way. Christians form one body or messianic community under the rule of Christ who is the head. We are all joined to each other. Just as the parts of our natural body are joined together. Each Christian is “Spirit-filled” (Acts 5:32), and the Spirit welds us together into one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), but individual Christians are not the whole body by themselves (1 Corinthians 12:17).
So we are to use our different gifts. Each one in the messianic community has his duties, just as the hand or foot or eye of the body. Compare 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. In accordance with the grace. Compare Romans 12:3. Seven gifts are now mentioned. The first four are “official,” and some are supernormal. To speak God’s message. Since the New Testament was not yet written down, some were given the supernormal ability to speak God’s message by inspiration. [These were called prophets. They were sometimes, but not always, comparable to preachers.]
Or if it is to serve. Acts 6:2-3. If it is to teach. A church leader/elder was supposed to be a teacher.
If it is to encourage others. Acts 4:36; Acts 9:26-27. Whoever shares. 2 Corinthians 9:11-13. Authority. 1 Peter 5:1-4. Kindness. 2 Corinthians 9:7; Galatians 6:1-2.
Love must be completely sincere. Compare 1 Corinthians 13:0. Hate what is evil. A Christian cannot love evil and love God at the same time. Hold on to what is good. We are to seize good and make ourselves part of it.
Love one another. Being “one in Christ” is not make-believe! A real love and kindness welds us together and makes us honor each other. John 13:35.
Work hard. A Christian may “burn out,” but never “rust out!” Serve the Lord. The “spiritual temperature” is to be high in the messianic community!!!
Let your hope keep you joyful. The evidence of the Holy Spirit living in the Christian is: faith, hope, and love. From heaven’s view, they are the supreme miracles of divine grace. Be patient in your troubles. Romans 5:3-5. Pray at all times. Luke 18:1. We see this in the life of Jesus.
Share your belongings. Galatians 6:10; Acts 2:44-45; Acts 6:1-7. Open your homes to strangers. The things in this verse were especially important in the first century, when persecution often forced Christians to “run for their lives.” Christianity is a faith with an open hand, an open heart, and an open door! See 1 John 3:17.
Ask God to bless. If you can do this, you are a transformed person! See note on Matthew 5:44. Christ did this as he hung on the cross!!!
Be happy. A Christian will share the joys and sorrows of others, especially other Christians.
Have the same concern for all alike. Treat your fellow Christian as you would want him to treat you. Compare James 2:1-4. Do not be proud. “Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.” Jesus made himself the servant of others. Do not think of yourselves as wise. Compare Luke 18:9-14.
Do not pay him back with evil. Our human nature wants revenge! It may be hard to return good for evil, but it is required, and the rewards are great. See John 13:35 and note. Try to do. See Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12.
Do everything possible. Sometimes it is impossible, but it must never be the Christian who is at fault. Compare Matthew 5:9.
Never take revenge. If someone does you wrong, you harm yourself by taking revenge. Some condition in the church at Rome must have been the reason for this strong statement from Paul. Not the one who thinks he has been wronged, but rather God, is the moral judge of all. Paul quotes Deuteronomy 32:35 to prove this. Compare 1 Thessalonians 2:16.
Instead, as the scripture says. Paul quotes Proverbs 25:21-22 Septuagint. Compare 2 Kings 6:22; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27-28. A Christian is not passively non-resistive, but actively repays hostility with love!!! The purpose of Christ is not to destroy, but to save!!! This must be our purpose as well.
Do not let evil defeat you. If the Christian takes revenge and returns evil for evil, he has been defeated. This is Paul’s point here. Conquer evil with good. This is the only answer. Good is stronger than evil, even though this may not seem true at the time. Taking revenge does not change your enemy, but kindness can make him your friend. This is God’s way.
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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 12". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12