Monday, November 22, 2010

Romans 12:1,2 (Getting Practical)

Paul followed a regular pattern in most of his correspondence with churches. He would use the first part of his letters teaching, clarifying, answering questions and addressing problems. The second portion of his letters tended to be practical applications of what he had just taught. Here in Romans he does the same thing. Since he had not met the church and his letter had been a basic outline of his understanding of the Gospel, the application we get here is a general application of the Gospel that is universally applicable. He starts out with one of the most basic charges Christians can read in the Bible. What do we do as Christians?

Our “spiritual” (read logical or reasonable) Service of Worship is to:

Present our bodies as Living Sacrifices; meaning that we are not fashioned after this temporary age. That can mean both that we are not fashioned after the sinful world, but also that we are not fashioned after the religious world. Both ways of living are condemned by the Bible in general and by Romans specifically. This is the outward, visible aspect of the Christian life. There is also an inner aspect:

We are instead metamorphosed (read radically changed, made completely other) into a new mind. This transformation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit and experienced through sanctification and the practice of spiritual disciplines.

When we are not formed by the culture we live in, but transformed by God’s Spirit, we exhibit and demonstrate that God's Will is:

Acceptable and pleasing both to God and to us as well. Living as we were intended to, accomplishing the purposes for which we were created is the very definition of fulfillment.

Beneficial and profitable to God’s Kingdom, to those of us who live that way, and to the world. Once again, when God’s will is accomplished through people, the world gets a glimpse of things the way they should be. God’s righteousness breaks through into broken relationships and broken lives.

Complete and perfect. This is harder to see this side of heaven, but God’s will works throughout all the circumstances in our lives and accomplishes everything He purposes.

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