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Workers of Grace

 Romans Chapter 12, the practical section of Romans, is for those with a new mind.  The transformation of the Christian begins in the mind.  Paul commands in verse 2: ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’  This transformation is continual (present tense imperative).  It begins the process of not being squeezed into the world’s mold (“do not be conformed to this world”) and manifests itself first not in how we think of others, but how we think of ourselves.  Paul says to every Christian: “not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think” (v. 3).  Before…

Think Before You Strike

Paul includes unbelievers in his exhortations to Christlike love.  Paul introduced Christlike love in verse 9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.”  It would be hypocritical to love only those who love you since that would be more like trading or bartering affection.  For love to be Christlike, it must show itself to those who have nothing to offer in return.  This would be love for love’s sake, not affection based on a dividend or return.  This is the sacrificial love Christ showed toward believers: “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Therefore, after introducing the subject…

Pride, Pride, Pride

Romans 12:14 is a transition in Chapter 12. Verses 1-13 focus on believers. Paul addresses those who have received mercy (v. 1), faith (v. 3), grace (v. 6) and spiritual gifts (vv. 6-8) and exhorts them to serve other believers as a practical demonstration of Christ’s love toward those in His Body, the Church. Believers are to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit and faith, with fervency and joyful hope (vv. 11-12), regarding other believers as family members (v. 10) and honoring them above self (vv. 10, 13).Romans 12:14-21 focus mainly on unbelievers. With verse 14, Paul begins…

Blessing, Rejoicing & Not Cursing

Romans 12:14 is a transition in Chapter 12. The first 13 verses focus on believers. Paul addresses those who have received mercy (v. 1), faith (v. 3), grace (v. 6) and spiritual gifts (vv. 6-8) and exhorts them to serve other believers as a practical demonstration of Christ’s love toward those in His Body, the Church. Believers are to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit and faith, with fervency of spirit (v. 11) and joyful hope (v. 12), regarding other believers as family members (v. 10) and honoring other believers above self (vv. 10, 13).Romans 12:14-21 focus mainly…

Love Serves, Hope Gives

Romans Chapter 12 begins the ‘practical’ section of Romans. Chapters 1-8 are about the Gospel and personal salvation. Chapters 9-11 are about the Gospel and the nation Israel. Although Chapter 12 concentrates on Christian duties, Paul continues to emphasize God’s mercy and grace throughout. He begins: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God” (12:1). He says about himself: “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you” (12:3). He says about all Christians, “And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” (12:6). Everything about the Christian…

A Prophet's Repentance

The Book of Jonah is one of the most ironic in the Bible.  An irony is something that is true, but very different from what one might expect.  Ironies in the Book of Jonah include Jonah preaching in Nineveh (3:4), but only because God brought him in the belly of a great fish (1:17); how Jonah preached in the simplest terms (3:4), only to have everyone repent (3:10); how Jonah started one of the greatest revivals in the Bible, but was mad about it (4:1); how Jonah cared more for plants than people (4:9); how pagan sailors cared more for…

The Jewel and its Facets

Sanctification is all of God’s grace. Salvation is all of God’s grace (“by grace you have been saved, through faith” Ephesians 2:8). So is sanctification. A saved sinner may be spiritually alive, but without God’s grace, he can do nothing. Christ said, “for apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore, in Romans Chapter 12, which begins the ‘practical’ section of Romans, the emphasis is all on God’s grace. Paul says, “through the grace given to me, I say to every man among you” (12:3). Paul needed God’s grace even to speak correctly! In 12:6 Paul writes: “And…

Paul’s Priority on Love

Romans chapter 12 begins the ‘practical’ section of the book of Romans. ‘Practical’ means how a Christian should live out the Gospel. After 8 chapters of individual salvation (Chs. 1-8) and 3 chapters on the election and security of the nation Israel (Chs. 9-11), Paul addresses how Christians should live in light of their spiritual rebirth. A key feature of this chapter and the rest of the book are commands to believers, or imperatives. There are more commands in Chapter 12 alone than there are in the first eleven chapters of Romans. Romans 12:1-2 emphasize God’s grace, the basis and…

Greater Accountability

“What happens to those who have never heard the Gospel and as a result have never believed in Jesus as their Savior?” “Will they be condemned by God?” Jesus Himself in John gave the answer to these questions 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” But perhaps one should be more concerned with the question, “What happens to those who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ but refused to repent?” Matthew 11:20-24 reveals that those who have been granted more knowledge about Jesus Christ have greater…

A Title, A Command, A Stewardship

What is a biblical elder? Where does the Bible define him and what he does? How does he differ from an apostle, a prophet or a preacher? Why does Peter, who is obviously an apostle, call himself an elder in 1 Peter 5:1? Is he both? Are there still both? How many elders are there in a church? These are some of the questions that 1 Peter 5:1-4 answers. 1 Peter 5:1-4 is a unique passage. It is one of only 2 passages in the New Testament that uses all 3 biblical terms for the person in the church who…

Rewards of the Gospel Ministry

Matthew chapter 10 gives us the instructions Jesus gave to his disciples before sending them out on their first missionary trip. Jesus sends them out with a simple message of the gospel of the Kingdom. It is a message that brings about eternal consequences determined by wether one receives it or not. He also warns His disciples about the persecution they were going to face because of this message, even from those who are of their own households. The message from Christ was clear, anyone who wanted to associate himself with the message of the “Kingdom” and with its “King”…

The Cost of Genuine Discipleship

In His second discourse (Matthew chapter 10), Jesus speaks privately with his disciples. After setting apart the twelve to preach the Gospel (10:1-7) and entrusting them with His authority (10:1), Jesus explains the cost of discipleship. The fundamental idea of discipleship is a complete loyalty to Christ and His Kingdom. Discipleship is not a part time job but a full time commitment to Christ. The disciple therefore must be willing to pay any price in order to follow His Master. He must be ready to be hated by all, be persecuted by his immediate family and even be ready to…