Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2.
Last week we discussed Romans chapters 12 and 13, which urge us to live vibrant, practical and fruitful lives through our total commitment to God characterized by love and care for one another as well as loyalty to our nation.
We ended on Romans chapter 12:9, which says that to be totally committed means to hate what is evil. We continue this week with more highlights. Please enjoy.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ROMANS CHAPTERS 12 AND 13
ROMANS 12:10 – Total Commitment Means To Be Devoted To One Another.
All those devoted in faith to Jesus Christ must be devoted to one another as spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ, with sincerity, sensitivity and kindness. We must be concerned for the welfare, needs and spiritual condition of others, empathizing with them and helping them through their sorrows and troubles. We must honour and respect one another, recognizing the good qualities in other Christians. In this way, people who do not know Christ will notice and be drawn to His love, which they see reflected in us.
ROMANS 12:12 – Total Commitment Means To Be Faithful In Prayer.
The Bible recognizes that most of us will struggle, not only to keep an attitude of prayer. This verse encourages us to be faithful and persistent in prayer because it is our access to God for a life of spiritual intimacy and power. It is also the means by which God advances His kingdom purposes on earth.
ROMANS 12:18 – Total Commitment Means To Live At Peace With Everyone.
Christ’s followers are to do their best to cultivate peaceful relationships with others. Jesus Himself pronounced special blessings on peacemakers. This does not mean that Christians are allowed to compromise their faith and values for the sake of getting along with or pleasing others. Christians must often take a bold stand against worldly values and behaviours, particularly when these things make their way into the church and steal people’s devotion to God and His Word. Still, when it comes to how Christians behave toward others – inside and outside the church – they should seek to influence people through compassion and kindness in an effort to “overcome evil with good”.
ROMANS 12:19 – Total Commitment Means To Avenge.
God’s avenging is not revenge but is related to His perfect justice in punishing those who do wrong.
ROMANS 13:1 – Total Commitment Means To Submit To The Governing Authorities.
God commands Christians to respect and obey those in government as an institution established by God. He has instituted governments because in an ungodly and disorderly world people need certain restraints to protect them from the chaos and lawlessness that is a natural result of sin. God has determined that governments should be agents of justice that restrain evil by punishing offenders and protecting the good in society. When it abandons its proper function, however, it ceases to operate according to God’s purpose. For example, when government requires something contrary to God’s Word, Christians must obey God rather than other humans. Yet, even when government officials themselves are not following God, Christians, in most cases, are still required to handle themselves graciously and respectfully toward their leaders.
ROMANS 13:8 – Total Commitment Means Not To Let Any Debt Remain Outstanding.
Christians must avoid unnecessary debt, and they should be responsible in paying their bills. This does not mean that we are prohibited from borrowing from others in case of serious need. The only “debt” we are to remain under is that of love for one another.
ROMANS 13:10 – Total Commitment Means Our Love Should Not Harm Our Neighbours.
“Love” is fulfilled not only by positive commands (things we are to do), but also by “negative” ones (things we should not do). Love must always look to the good and best interest of others. Love is positive yet it must also be negative (placing restrictions on certain behaviours) in that it takes into the overwhelming human tendency toward sin, selfishness and cruelty. Eight of the Ten Commandments are restrictions (they address things God’s people must not do) because sin comes naturally, while goodness does not.
The first evidence of Christian love is turning from offenses and willingly giving up anything that brings harm and sorrow to others. Christians who use their liberty and freedom of conscience to act in ways that might mislead, confuse or cause others to violate their consciences are not acting in love. True Christian love concerns itself with what builds others up spiritually, whether that be in the things we do or the things we avoid.
ROMANS 13:14 – Total Commitment Means to Clothe Ourselves With The Lord Jesus Christ.
We must be so united and identified with Christ that we imitate His example as our pattern for living. This means that we adopt His values and principles, obey His commands and become like Him. This calls for a complete rejection of immoral behavior and the acts of the sinful nature. Christians must demonstrate outwardly the spiritual changes that have taken place inwardly.
Peter had reached the point of no return. He left everything and followed his Lord. Yes, there were failures yet to come in Peter’s life. Total commitment does not mean perfection. It’s a matter of taking self-off every throne of life and enthroning Christ. How committed are you to Jesus Christ? Have you “pushed out a little”? Have you “launched out into the deep”? Or are you still hung up on the beach? Total commitment means Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
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