His Reflection in My Life [Romans 12]
1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
In this fantastic book God has been carefully unfolding His plan. In chapters 1-3 we saw our need - all have missed the mark of God's righteousness. Both Jews and Gentiles need salvation by faith in God's Son, Jesus. Chapters 4-5 clearly show how to receive that faith. 6-8 describes how that faith is lived out daily. In chapters 9-11 we see God's plan for the nation of Israel in relation to all the nations. And now chapter 12 begins with "therefore." In other words, in light of all that you have learned about God's desire for a relationship with you, now let me describe what that relationship looks like. This description is an important piece because it looks so foreign to what we have been used to in the world, the way we have been conformed or molded.
I heard recently heard it described as similar to a marriage covenant. When two people get married they start a new relationship, one of oneness, the combining of two persons. Sometimes we forget what that new relationship is all about and have to be reminded that because of the commitment we made we can't just please ourselves. When it is said not to commit adultery, it is less about rules and more about describing what that covenant means.
As we read Romans 12 we will understand it better as we think about it in these terms - because I have entered into a covenant relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus and His Spirit here is a description of that new relationship. "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." It is going to involve a daily mind renewal because everything around us is committed to the world's system. But we are not alone. God is providing all that we need and He has given us others, with their gifts to be a part of the process. We are members of a community that is in covenant relationship with God, described as the body of Christ.
Because it looks so different from what we have lived in the past and what others around us are living, here is a description of what God did when He made us righteous:
9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.
17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
As we read a description of this covenant relationship He has made with us, don't forget all that was before the "therefore." God has provided all the power for this huge transformation. As we submit it Him and receive His power (grace) by acknowledging our weakness, our inability to "love without hypocrisy," and ask Him to do the work, He will make that transformation in us!
We praise You, Father, for the transforming work You are doing in us. Thank You for giving us a detailed description of Your divine reflection in our life so that we won't be deceived by the world's system. May You be glorified as we reflect Your righteousness.