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Chapter 12

Commentary by Tom Brown


1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. brothers. Obviously includes sisters. He speaks in the rest of this epistle to the believers.

bodies as living sacrifices. Body sacrificed simply means that you do not do what the flesh wants to do. Paul alludes to the Old Testament sacrifices whereby the lambs were sacrificed. Here Paul does not want the believer physically dead, but dead to sin.

holy. Paul begins the final section of his letter by introducing the theme of holiness.

pleasing to God. God loves all believers, but he is not always pleased with all believers. Holiness pleases God.

2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Do not conform. The word conform means to act in accord or harmony with a standard or norm; to comply. The world's standard of conduct is called "morality." Morality is based on the word "mortality"--death doomed. The word "moral" is not a biblical word. The world sets its standard based on mortality. You live only once. Get all the gusto you can get.

 Our conduct is based on "holiness."  God sets his standard based on immortality. You will live forever, and your deeds will come to light. God did not call us to be moral, but holy. Holiness means separation from the world, not conformity to it.

renewing of your mind. Mind renewal is the real secret to living holy and pleasing to God. For a fuller teaching on mind renewal see my article on Brain Washed.

Three descriptions of the will of God. 1. Good for you. 2. Pleasing to God. 3. Perfect—nothing can improve it.

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. sober judgment. Humility is an accurate assessment of your self. It is not exaggeration or devaluation. Opposite of sober is drunk. A drunk always exaggerates his abilities.
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, The beginning of our walk in holiness knows where we fit in with the body of Christ, not where we fit in with the world.
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We are diverse yet belong to each other. No cookie-cutter Christians. The world, ironically, wants people to look alike.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. according to the grace. Your spiritual gifts are always based on grace, not merit.
7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  
8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. The giving of Gifts is God’s doing. Faithfulness to our gifts is our doing.

These are not secular gifts, but spiritual gifts. Not career gifts. As important as it is to know your career, it is more important to know your career in the church. What has God called you to do for the body of Christ?

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. sincere. Love is without hypocrisy. Do not pretend to accept what someone does just to make the person like you.

hate what is evil. There is no true love without hating evil.

Cling means to glue oneself. It is easy to start doing what is wrong. The world will try to pry you away from good.

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Brotherly love is love for those who are of the same kind—in other words, believers. Cherishing one's family, especially children and parents.

Honor is based on assessing other people’s place in the body and their gifts, and honoring their place. It is not your job to humble one another. The devil will try to get believers to dishonor the head of the local church.

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. spiritual fervor. Emotional enthusiasm is part of spiritual fervor. Enthusiasm means "En" in and "Theo" God. God in you. Corporations, Sports teams and others get pumped up for their cause. We should also feel passion for our cause as well. The believer needs to make it a habit to get pumped up for the Lord. It is a decision. The decision leads to an emotional high.

Serving the Lord. The aim of enthusiasm is to serve the Lord not just to experience feelings. Serving is practical.

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Joyful in hope. Not simply joyful in tribulation. There is no joy in looking at one’s troubles. Look at the final outcome.

Patient in affliction. No need to be patient when things are going well. The Christian walk is not always actively moving forward, it is sometimes patiently waiting for a positive change in circumstances.

Faithful in prayer. People may be faithful in many things, but prayer is usually not one of them. Just as one may be diligent in exercising, one needs that same diligence in prayer.

13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Share with God’s people. It is right to help as many as you can, but first, help your own family. Many times, I receive calls, asking, "Do you help people pay their light bill?" I answer, "Yes, we do for the members of our church." Members must come first.

Need. Greek chreia (khri'-ah); means employment. The best thing you can do is to supply them with a job. If some able bodied person does not want to work, then you do not need to provide for their needs.

practice hospitality. Literally, Entertain strangers. Open your home. Jesus said, "I was a stranger and you took me in." We need to welcome new comers to our church. Is there room for more people to feel at home in your church? Or do you have cliques that make visitors feel unwelcome?

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Persecute is when people actively hurt you, and we are called to bless. Ouch!

bless. There is a goal in doing this. See Romans 12:20.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Rejoice...mourn. We seem to have this reversed. When someone is given something good, we often are sadden that we did not receive the good, or when someone mourns, we smile and tell people to get over it. We often run from those who are in trouble.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Low position could mean:  1. Poor and 2. those who are brought down, like Job. He was once on top, but then calamity struck him. His friends were proud instead of humble. Let us not be like them.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. eyes of everybody. Reputation is important to maintain, or else, we lose an effective voice to preach the gospel.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. as far as it depends on you. Our first inclination is to say, "What about him?" The believer does not wait for the other guy to make peace. We initiate peace. The World says, "The first person to say sorry is the loser." The world is wrong.
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. God's wrath. There is a wrath of God, and woe to the person who experiences it. It usually is reserved for those who mistreat others.
20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." When your enemy is hungry do not think, "The Lord is avenging me." No, rather, feed him.

heap burning coals on his head. This will do two things: 1. Melt him into repentance and friendship or 2. It will make his hatred more inexcusable.

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. overcome evil with good. History proves that good wins in the end.

Previous  Chapter 13

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