Bible Discussion — Romans 12

November 14, 2007, 11:30 am; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, Connie, David, Erin, Josh J, Steve, Tom  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next chapter in the book of Romans, Romans 12.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50

Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40

And the book of Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5
Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I) | Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
Chapter 12 marks a complete change in the tenor of this epistle. The main work of dealing with the law, the Jew, and the Gentile done, Paul turns to general exhortation for the body of Christ. It is rich in basic instruction on “How to Live” for the believer.

Chloe:
A wonderfully concise handbook for Christianity.

Connie:
The chapter begins the final section of Romans, a call to practical obedience to God. Christians should live lives that reflect a transformation by our salvation working in us, and we should demonstrate such by good stewardship of our spiritual gifts.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Tom:
Under the old covenant, there were two types of sacrifice: the sacrifice to atone for sin, and the sacrifice made for worship. Since Jesus already became the sacrifice for our sin, when we’re exhorted in this chapter to be living sacrifices, we aren’t earning our salvation through good works. Instead, Paul encourages us to make our very lives an act of worship, which IS a pretty reasonable service given the circumstances.

Erin:
Verse 19 says, “Never avenge yourselves.” Never! I had always heard “Vengeance is mine” quoted, but the other side of that statement hits home. We are NEVER justified in “getting back” at someone. Never. Not even if it feels fair.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Erin: Customs of this World
Tom: Place to Wrath, Fervent in Spirit
Chloe: Zeal
Steve: Overcome
David: Abhor
Connie: Vengeance Is Mine
Josh: Humble Associate; Hungry Enemy

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF::
Steve:
Well, I preached on the passage this summer, so it makes me think of the stories I included in my sermon, which is available over here.

Tom:
The largest real-world proof of verse 20 is the incredible success of the nonviolent demonstrations at the end of the British colonial rule of India. I wish I could be sure I could win a battle by letting the opponent hit me and mine until they couldn’t lift their arms.

Josh:
Verse 21 reminds me of the song Elle G. by the Newsboys.

David:
An offended person I once knew, who thought she was indispensable in the body — only to find out no one is indispensable. On the other hand, no one is unneccessary either. It comes down to the condition you’re in, and whether you’re functioning the way God wants you to. No car needs two engines, but every car needs an engine and a transmission.

Chloe:
A professor at Houghton told his students about a church he once attended that required members to go into their communities and evangelize. This may sound like a great idea, but for some (me, for example), telling people about Jesus isn’t really a strong point.

Verses 4 through 8 tell people to work in their fortes, because not everyone is good at convincing people to follow Jesus. Some of us will botch it up, but that doesn’t make us bad Christians. It just means we need to figure out what our body part does, and embrace that purpose.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Erin:
Spiritual gifts — an oft-debated subject. Here, it is clear that God gifts His people with different abilities to function for the glory of the faith/kingdom. We are to use these gifts, and not criticize others when they don’t have the same ones we do.

Chloe:
The Western church has fooled itself into thinking that if we obey God or pray the right prayer, we’ll get what we want and be happy. Paul paints another picture in this passage, one of humbleness, submission and sacrifice. Read the chapter as if you were going to do everything it commands to Osama bin Laden. Christianity isn’t about being sated in this life. It’s about sacrifice, being lambs set aside for the slaughter, and rejoicing in that.

David:
Christianity was never meant to be a solitary experience. We were made to function within the body. That’s where we find our purpose.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Connie:
I like to remind those who don’t like to gather together to worship regularly of verse 5: we being many are members of one body. When some are missing, it leaves us lacking.

Steve:
We’re told to “associate with the humble,” as opposed to setting our mind on “high things.” Spend too much time with those who take themselves (or you) seriously and you can’t help but be affected by their way of thinking. Everyone should have something in their life — whether it be family, ministry, or work — to fight the tendency to “be wise in [their] own opinion.”

David:
To “present your bodies a living sacrifice” is to understand the New Covenant. Paul summed it up in Hebrews 10:5, saying, “Sacrifce and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared for me.” The New Covenant isn’t doing God’s will, as much as being at His disposal.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Josh:
Uniting the Body.

Connie:
I think Jesus demonstrated all the attributes in verses 9-21 while He walked with the disciples.

Erin:
The ability we have to live in a community like this, of love and mutual respect, is because of Jesus’ example and sacrifice.

David:
Making us part of His body, and endowing us with gifts and callings.

Tom:
In verse 14, blessing us who cursed Him.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Erin:
12:15-16 — “When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”

David:
12:1 — “I beseech ye therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Steve, Connie:
12:21 — “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Tom, Josh:
12:2 — “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 G-d.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
David:
The part about heaping coals of fire upon someone’s head by being nice to him. It seems a little mean-spirited, like kicking a man while he’s down.

Erin:
Does living in peace mean war is not justified?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Connie:
Our job is to love, not make everything here even and fair.

Josh:
By showing kindness to our enemies, and thus “heap(ing) coals of fire on his head,” we are actually setting the example of love that may lead them to repentance. Unfortunately, I think many people interpret this painful imagery as a roundabout way to get back at someone, which basically misses the point.

David:
You must find what God has gifted you with and find a place in the Body of Christ. You need us, and we need you.

Steve:
Living like a Christian requires complete trust in God and His ability to provide. We can prefer others, because God will take care of us. We can bless rather than curse, because God will take care of us. We can foresake vengeance, because God will take care of us. And we can sacrifice our very lives to Him in an act of worship, because He has promised — He will take care of us.

American Christians would be better off if we took God’s promises as the basis to risk ruin in the name of love and self-sacrifice, rather than the foundation for accumulating riches and honor.

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
David:
There’s more practical advice in this chapter than there is in the whole rest of the book, about how we should live.

Steve:
I’m (usually) so glad people are different. I’m not (generally) the guy who should be greeting visitors or bake cookies, but I’m happy to set up chairs, tear down equipment, lead worship or deliver exhortations. Much like this site or any group endeavor, the church requires the unique gifts of many of God’s people.

 
CONCLUSION:
David:
A nice chapter.


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