A Call to Commitment: 12:1-2. Paul took us through doctrines in the first eleven chapters. This section begins with the third “therefore” in this epistle. It is always Pauline practice to follow the doctrinal section with practical exhortation. It is important that doctrine should be translated into behavior and not the other way. Here Paul is speaking to Christians with urgency. “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God. It is an appeal to believers in view of God’s mercy. God’s mercy is His love in action in response to man’s sin. Apostle explains the mercies of God in the first eleven chapters of Romans. Meditating on God’s mercies towards us will be a spiritual incentive to serve Him. God is able to forgive our sins and does not count them against us because He did count them against His only Son. Forgiveness is free to us, costly to God. The offer of forgiveness means nothing and irrelevant unless we are convicted of our sins. In light of the mercies of God, we ought to present our whole person as a living sacrifice to God. Present here simply means to yield (6:13). It is our rational or spiritual act of worship to God. Believers are called upon to live for Christ. It should be a holy, acceptable and a spiritual sacrifice. We are accepted in the beloved. God considers us holy because we are in Christ. Worship is not a mindless spiritual exercise. But how can we do that? Apostle exhorts believers not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Christians must have a different mindset. Our bodies should be in submission to our mind. Mind is the center of decision, reasoning and affection. Our mind should b controlled by the word of God so that we may not be fashioned after this evil world. This world is under the control of Satan (2Cor 4:4). Believers are new creation In Christ Jesus (2Cor 5:17). We should seek the things above (Col 2:6; 3:1, 2). Only a transformed person can understand the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
Transformed Life is a Life of Humility: 12:3-8. Paul exhorts believers to use their spiritual gifts for the edification of the church. Spiritual gifts should be exercised in humility. A transformed believer should not think of himself more highly than he ought to think. He should not cherish exaggerated ideas of his own importance. No one is immune from self exaggeration. The desire of preeminence is the death-nail of spiritual usefulness. A renewed mind sees value for his life through the lenses of God’s mercy and grace (Gal 2:20). The spiritual health of a church depends on the proper use of gifts by believers. We do not have the same function in the church. We are one body in Christ and we belong to each other. So each of us should recognize our gift and use them for the welfare of the church. Gifts are to be used for progress of the church. They are not given for display or for performance to attract people. Paul gives instruction for the use of seven gifts here. In 1 Corinthians 12, nine spiritual gifts are mentioned. Also in Ephesians 4, we see four gifts. In the distribution of gifts we can see unity, plurality, diversity, and harmony.
Each gift is necessary for the proper functioning of the church. Transformed life exercises gifts in humility in the local church.
Transformed life is a life of Love: 12:9-16. Transformed life enables Christians to exercise mutual love toward one another. Paul exhorts believers “Let love be sincere and genuine. Love must be without hypocrisy. Someone said “love is the epitome of virtues”. We should hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. We should love each other regardless of our background and status. Christians should take delight in honoring each other and consider others better than ourselves. Do not be slothful and unenthusiastic in the activities of the church. Serve the Lord with enthusiasm. Rejoice in all circumstances. Be patient in tribulation and be prayerful. Show genuine concern to poor and contribute to their needs. Seek to show hospitality to strangers (Gen 18:2, 3). Bless those who persecute you, bless do not curse them and pray that God will bless them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Do not try to show yourself important but enjoy the company of the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight and don’t think you know it all. Only a transformed and renewed minded believer can obey these exhortations.
Transformed life shows Kindness to Enemies: 12:17-21. Transformed mind is a radically changed mind. Since Christians are the beneficiaries of the mercies of God, they think differently about themselves, about other believer and even about the world that opposes the gospel. Christians should never pay back evil for evil. Our natural instinct is retaliation. But we are exhorted to behave in honorable way so that our testimony should not be lost. We are advised to live at peace with everyone. Never take vengeance on our enemies but allow God to deal with them. Christians should never wish anything other than salvation for our enemies. How is it possible? Turn our eyes to our Lord (1Pet 2:23). Here Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:35. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord”. There is a difference between personal vengeance and duties of government upholding the law. Christians are advised to show kindness to their enemies as individuals (12:21). In doing so, you shall heap burning coals on their head (Pro 25:21, 21). There are two lines of interpretation to this phrase. It is a symbol of penitence and change of mind. Also it is a metaphor of pain and shame brought upon them for what they have done to themselves. Showing kindness to those who oppose us may lead them to their conversion. Christians should overcome evil with good.