This study features notes from Enduring Word.
Recap Romans 11 (the passage starts with ‘therefore’).
J.B. Phillips has an outstanding and memorable translation of Romans 12:1-2:
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the Plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
1. Paul says ‘in view of God’s mercy’ or ‘by the mercies of God’ in v1. What are some of the mercies of God Paul has explained so far in Romans?
Justification, adoption, placed under grace (not law), assurance, confidence of coming glory/no separation/God’s continued faithfulness.
2. In light of all this mercy, what are we to do?
Offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.
3. What’s significant about this phrase?
It calls to mind priestly service. Spiritually speaking our bodies are brought to God’s altar. ‘Offer your bodies’ means God wants you, not just your work.
4. Why should our bodies be holy and pleasing?
God intends it to be a holy and pleasing sacrifice. The standard for sacrifices made to God under the new covenant are not any less than the standard under the old one.
5. Paul issues a challenge in v2. He’s saying Christians must think differently. How can we renew our minds? What can stop us from doing so?
Many Christians live life based on feelings or are concerned about doing. They ignore the renewing of the mind. God isn’t against these but they’re insufficient foundations for the Christian life. Instead of ‘how do I feel?’ or ‘what do I do’, we should ask ‘what is true here? What does God’s word say?’
6. What’s the result?
The proof is evident on the outside, as others can see what the good, pleasing and perfect will of God is through your life.
7. What warning does Paul give in v3?
He’s about to speak about spiritual gifts but a warning about humility is needed given the inordinate pride that can arise from those who regard themselves as spiritually gifted. Paul tells us to see the truth about ourselves.
8. What do v4-5 tell us about the church?
The church is a unified whole (one body) but we are distinct within that one body (members). There is unity and diversity.
9. What should our church look like if each member belongs to all the others?
Unity should never be promoted at the expense of individuality and individuality should never diminish the church’s essential unity in Christ.
10. How are spiritual gifts given (v6-8)?
The difference and distribution of gifts is all due to the grace that is given to us. Spiritual gifts are not given on the basis of merit, but because God chooses to give them.
11. What is prophecy?
Prophecy isn’t necessarily foretelling in a strictly predictive sense. It is more accurately forth telling the heart and mind of God, which may or may not include a predictive aspect.
12. Why does Paul give specific instructions for the some of the gifts he mentions, but not all of them?
Serving, teaching and encouraging don’t have specific instructions. Ministry is broad and highlights serving in practical ways. Teaching has instruction in mind whereas encouragement helps people to live out what they’ve been taught.
13. Do you think people use their spiritual gifts effectively at our church?
Open for discussion.
14. How does the foundation for Christian living Paul gives in v1-2 help us to live out the spiritual gifts we have been given?
Embrace the transformation that comes through Christ.