Monday in the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 12:3-21

Fleshing Out What It Means to Be a Living Sacrifice

Here in the rest of chapter twelve is the fleshing out of what it means to be a living sacrifice.  I suppose a devotion could be given to each verse, but you are just as capable as I am to understand each of these exhortations.

Paul begins by calling us to humility, which has been a theme throughout this letter when one considers that we cannot fulfill the law but must be justified by faith alone, and that we must have the Holy Spirit within us to even begin to live a holy life.  Paul calls us to think about ourselves “with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  This is difficult to understand but in light of the fact that he begins by discussing the need for humility and then goes on talking about each believer’s giftedness and function in the body (i.e., local church), Paul seems to be saying that each believer should stay within the bounds of the function of his gift.  So if your gift is exhortation, then exhort other believers and do not seek to exercise a gift you do not have; if your gift is teaching, then teach according to God’s word and be content.  And always be thankful for the gifts God has given to others for the building up of the church, the purpose for which God gives gifts.

The rest of the passage is given to those sundry exhortations I mentioned above.  I might suggest spending time meditating on each exhortation and thinking how you might fulfill it.  How might you make love sincere today?  Where in your life have you harbored evil which you need to bring to the light and detest, and what good is there to which you need to cling and improve?  Are you experiencing tribulation at the present moment?  How might you endure it with patience?  How might you show hospitality to the saints? to anyone?  No, you can’t work on all these at once but perhaps by working on one at a time, you might add to your virtue.

Verses fourteen and following seem to fall along the lines of living peaceably with others, even those who abuse us.  We feed them, clothe them, and help them however we can.  Perhaps they will repent.  But God knows our limitations; therefore he tells us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  Some will not allow you to live peaceable with them, and there is nothing you can do about that.  So Christians love their enemies and let God handle the rest.  The chapter sums itself up best: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  This is really just the teaching of Jesus, which is what we expect from one of his apostles.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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