We are speeding toward the end of our study of the book of Romans. After an extensive revelation of God’s glorious salvation and a prophetic discourse regarding natural Israel, Paul goes on into some practical applications for living in the Spirit of God. The applications that I’m speaking of are found in chapter twelve. You could break Paul’s instructions in this chapter down into four primary topics:
God’s daily will
The Evidence of humility
Dealing with evil attacks through others
So, let’s look at each one of these topics individually. First, God’s daily will. Death is not an attractive option to the living. We are born with a survival instinct inbred in us. Yet, the pathway to the will of God goes through death to self. This goes completely against all we know, so Paul tells us that we must keep something in view as a motivator.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God”
If it were not for the mercy of God, we would all be consumed. Paul tells us that it is God’s mercy which leads us to death to self and will govern the entire process. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He informed His disciples of His impending death. Peter declared that he was willing to die for Jesus. In reality, Jesus is looking for those who are willing to live for Him.
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
This is what it means to be saved. To know and live in God’s will daily requires sacrifice of self interest to God’s will and the renewing of our mind. Our thinking causes us so much trouble. Our history, our world, and our nature fill us with ungodly beliefs. To know God’s will so that we can live it daily requires the renewal of our mind into biblical thinking. Faith in nothing is empty faith. You better know “something” or your faith will prove empty.
Second, the evidence of humility. God has given each of His children the faith for salvation and the activation of the gifts of the Spirit. All the gifts of the Spirit are essential to the complete expression of the Spirit. For the complete expression of the Spirit, we need each and every one of us operating in our gifts. Gifts operating in humility carry great power. Gifts operating in pride cause great destruction.
Thirdly, the avoidance of hypocrisy. The biblical definition of hypocrisy is founded in the entertainment field. An actor plays a role that does not reflect who they really are. Hypocrisy occurs when we are not being who we really are in the Spirit. Hypocrisy cannot operate where love is present. If we are hypocrites, we are not reflecting God’s love to self or others. A life without hypocrisy will do good and avoid evil – give preference to others – serve the Lord diligently – rejoice at all times – express faith in trouble – be a life of prayer – give money and resources to others – love to get together with others – rejoice in others triumphs – weep at others tragedy – be willing to associate with people who are struggling and have a sober opinion of themselves.
Finally, Paul tells how to deal with attacks from others. It begins in verse 14: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” If you can keep your mouth under control, your heart is under control. Along with keeping your mouth under the Spirit’s control:
Do good to everyone, even those who don’t deserve it.
If you can live at peace with people who don’t like you, do it.
Do not avenge yourselves.
Doing these things will create a spiritual reality where:
You are not under the control of sin – yours or others.
You are creating an atmosphere for conviction of sin.
You are overcoming Satan’s attacks against you.
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