Responsibility Towards God
Verse 1 – I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your responsible service.
Paul is talking to all Christians, then, and now. A Christian should dedicate the whole person to God’s honor. We are to be different from non-Christians. We should experience a progressive transformation of life by the renewing of our minds.
Verse 2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Do you see the difference in people who “call” themselves Christians and never open God’s word, let alone never go to church, and those who know God’s word and don’t have to tell you that they are Christian’s because you know it? No one will ever be transformed to prove what is God’s will if they don’t read the Scriptures!
Verse 3 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one the measure of faith.
Keep in mind, Paul is talking to Christians, not the lost. Here’s what happens sometimes when a believer starts to get a little Bible knowledge without understanding and think their ways are always right – they become arrogant, thinking they are better than others.
Verse 4 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
Verse 5 – so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Just as parts of the body function under the brain, all Christians work together under Christ.
Verse 6 – Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
Verse 7 – or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
Verse 8 – he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberty; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Look at these gifts and understand that these are the characteristics of those who have these gifts. Those who prophesy are often bold and articulate. Those in ministry are faithful and loyal. Teachers are clear thinkers. Those who exhort, encourages and know how to motivate others. Givers are generous and trusting. Leaders are good organizers and managers. Those who show mercy are willing to give their time to help others.
All these gifts are used together to build God’s family. No one person can do them all by their self. We should let our strength in certain gifts, balance the weakness in another. This is why we are called “one body in Christ.”
Verse 9 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Love without hypocrisy – love that is manifested in acts of kindness and deeds of charity, not simply mouthing words. Love will have evidence of treating people with kindness. Abhor – means to hate; to turn from; to avoid. The word evil here has reference to malice, or unkindness, rather to evil in general. Cling to that which is good – gluing, uniting firmly by glue. Christians should be attached to what is good, and not separate or part from it. This does not mean “on occasion,” it means constantly.
Verse 10 – Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
God calls us to go beyond pretense, just being polite. Sincere love requires an effort, giving our time and money to benefit others. And don’t expect anything in return when you help someone. That would be holding it over their head in order to manipulate.
Verse 11 – not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
We should watch our motives when we serve.
Verse 12 – rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Verse 13 – distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Christian hospitality focuses on the guests. Their needs, whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or concern – are the primary concern. Christian hospitality can happen in a messy home, around a dinner table without fancy food. It can even happen while doing chores together. Unlike social entertaining’s where everything is perfect.
Verse 14 – Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (mock)
Verse 15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Verse 16 – Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Verse 17 – Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
Verse 18 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Verse 19 – Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Verse 20 – “Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.
What Paul commands sounds impossible for Christians to do. Some relationships will never be mended. However, as we were given grace and forgiveness, we do the same for others, because we received the same from God when we didn’t deserve it. Paul says that by being kind to those that have despised us will cause them to become ashamed and turn from sin. This does not always happen though, often it causes that person to just continue taking advantage of the one who is supposed to forgive.
Verse 21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.