Romans 12

 

Romans 12:1
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.

Chapters 1 through 8 of Romans were addressed to the church of God, while chapters 9 through 11 have been addressed to Judeans and Gentiles. Now we are back to the church of God, the brethren. Chapter 12 also kicks off the first practical section in the epistles on how we should be conducting our lives and treating each other.

Paul beseeches us, implores us, begs us, by the mercies of God to present our bodies as living sacrifices. We are only here through the mercy of God. We were all guilty of death, but God being merciful came up with a plan to help us. That plan was fulfilled when Jesus Christ gave his life for us and God raised him from the dead. The righteousness of God is now available to all men everywhere regardless of nationality or religion. When we make Jesus Christ our Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead we ourselves also are raised from the dead.

It is by mercy and grace that we receive the righteousness of God. We don't work for it or earn it, eternal life is a gift we receive when we believe. Our reasonable response therefore should be to present our bodies as living sacrifices. God doesn't ask us to die for him, he asks us to live for him. Jesus Christ was tortured and beaten for two days and then gave his life for us so we could have this. Come on folks, let's show our appreciation and be living sacrifices for our God and father.

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed [suschēmatizō] to this world: but be ye transformed [metamorphoō] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Conformed is the Greek word suschēmatizō, a derivative of schēma, and means to conform to the same pattern, to conform to, to fashion yourself according to. Our English word schematic comes from this word. We are not to fashion ourselves and conform to the schemes of the world. Movies, newspapers, magazines, literature, television, education and everything else in the world attempts to fashion us but we are not to be conformed and fashioned to the world's filth. For example, there are only two genders, male and female, anything else is filth and we are not to be conformed to it.

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Boys date girls, men marry women, and males have sex with females. Anything else is perverted criminal filth and we are not to be conformed to it. If we loved children as much as God does, we would do what he says.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Exodus 21:16
And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Transformed in Romans 12:2 is metamorphoō in the Greek, from which we derive the word metamorphosis, describing the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. As we read the bible and renew our minds, we change from being pests into beautiful butterflies which spread life by pollinating everywhere we go. We read our bibles and renew our minds to prove God's good, acceptable, and perfect will.

Romans 12:2
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.

God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect, and this is true whether we renew our minds or not. God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect regardless of anything we do, so the promise here is that we can prove it. This is something we can do if we renew our minds. What is God's will in a situation? If we renew our minds we get to experience it.

Romans 12:3
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.

The measure of faith is a reference to the gift of Christ in us which we all receive at the time of the new birth. Every man, woman, teenager and child who is born again receives the measure of faith, which is the measure of the gift of Christ in us.

Ephesians 4:7
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

We all get the same measure, so no one gets any more than anyone else and no one gets any less than anyone else.

Romans 12:4,5
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

The one body in Christ is made up of Judeans and Gentiles who have believed and are now the church of God. By the way, while we are here, the body of Christ is most certainly not any religious structure, ministry or church built by men. If you are born again, you are in the church of God and you are a member of the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:14
For the body is not one member, but many.

The body of Christ comprises everyone in the church of God. Christ is the head of the body, not any man or woman, or any leaders of any ministry or church. When we believe we all receive the measure of the gift of Christ, and how Christ leads his church is by everyone in the body of Christ walking by the spirit. God gives revelation where it is needed through the gift of holy spirit, that Christ in us. God does not give revelation to an exclusive club heading up some religious organisation who think God talks to them on behalf of everyone else through councils of men. That is not how revelation works in this administration. Walking by the counsel of men rather than by the spirit is putting your trust in the flesh. If you are in a church or ministry otherwise known as your local temple made with hands, tell them to fuck off, get out of the ditch and go fire up a church in your home.

Romans 12:6-8
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

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.

Whatever we are doing in the body of Christ, let's do it from our hearts. God has done everything for us, so let's do something for him in return.

I began my search for truth back in 1977, and when I completed my class Understanding the Bible 45 years later, I gave the book to God as a gift and asked him what he wanted me to do with it. He told me to release it to the public domain, put together a website for it and make it available free on line to everyone on planet earth, so that's what I did. I've waited on my ministry, and I've studied as honestly as I could to the best of my ability. I've believed and taught and written from my heart, and I've done it cheerfully, at my own expense, without any regrets. I do not sell any books or make any money from my life's work. For me, money has nothing to do with this. I should have been dead in 1977 while steaming up the Gulf of Aqaba aboard a Ben Line cargo ship, but God heard my cry for help and rescued me. My life is a gift from God to me, and in return my life's work is my gift to my father, which he in turn has given as a gift to the whole world.

In Romans there now follows a list of traits and habits we are to develop and practice with each other in the body of Christ.

Romans 12:9
Let
love [agapē] be without dissimulation [anupokritos]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave [kollaō] to that which is good.

Dissimulation is translated from anupokritos which is close to the word from which we derive our English word hypocrisy. We are not to be two faced in our love towards each other. Trust is earned and we have to learn to trust each other by being sincere in our love towards each other. Abhor means to loathe. We are to abhor and loathe evil, and evil is anything that contradicts the word. Homosexuality for example is loathesome and abhorrent. We must cleave to that which is good, and what is good is God's word. Cleave is translated from kollaō which means to glue, to stick, to join yourself to like glue. Here are a few things we are to glue ourselves to in the body of Christ.

Romans 12:10-13
Be
kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Not slothful [not lazy] in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation [mental pressure]; continuing instant in prayer;

Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

In the body of Christ we are to look after each other and ensure everyone always has all their need met. Money is far too big a subject to deal with here, but I have already done that anyway in my class Understanding the Bible. In essence, the believers in the first century used their plurality to support each other. Isn't that what a family is supposed to do? If you have children, do you do all you can from the money you have coming in to keep them clothed and fed with a roof over their heads? Of course you do. Yes, God supplies all our need, but God doesn't have any money to hand out, he works within people who walk by the spirit to will and to do of his good pleasure to ensure his people are well cared for. What do you think given to hospitality means? We are to love each other as a family, and look after and care for each other, and use our surplus money to care for people and move the word. That's what they did in the book of Acts and that's why the word moved.

1 John 3:17,18
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

The key to understanding these verses is understanding the shutting up of the bowels. Compassion that wells up inside us is often how God energises in us to help someone. If we are walking by the spirit and God wells compassion up inside us to help someone and we do nothing, how dwells the love of God in us? If you see someone with a need, you feel compassion, you have the means to help them, yet you ignore them and keep your money for yourself, how dwelleth the love of God in you? Of course, if there is no compassion and yet you give all your money away you're just being religious and stupid. If we walk by the spirit and love each other without dissimulation this will all make sense.

Romans 12:14-20
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Coals of fire on heads? That doesn't sound very pleasant, but it is in fact a beautiful orientalism. Back in those days, they didn't have boxes of matches and firelighters, so a communal fire was kept burning in the towns and villages where everyone could go and get a few coals to light their own fires at home. Those burning coals were transported in pots which folks carried on their heads, just as they do to this day in some countries. In winter, the children would fight over the job of getting the coals because they got to spend time at the communal fire where it was warm, and the pots on their heads were cosy. See, if we love each other instead of retaliating when people do horrid things, we warm each other back into cosy fellowship.

Romans 12:21
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

To close this chapter, I will point out that this verse isn't talking about being nice to malicious unbelieving shitholes who want to harm us and steal from us. The context is about how we treat each other in the body of Christ. This is addressed to the church of God, the brethren, and is talking about how we love our brothers and sisters in Christ without dissimulation.


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