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Romans 12




SCRIPTURE: Romans 12

Chapter 12 marks a rather significant change in Romans.  As he did often in his letters to churches, Paul uses the first part of his letter to the church in Rome to talk about theology and doctrine.  And then he uses the second part of his letter to talk primarily about application.  As we start chapter 12, it is as if Paul is saying to us, “OK… Based upon everything that I just taught you, here is what you need to do. Here’s how your life should look.”

This really is vital.  We certainly need to know about theology and doctrine but until and unless we begin to understand how that applies to us and what we should do as a result of it, nothing really changes.  Think about it this way.  Information without application leads to a religion of self-righteousness.  Application without information leads to heresy.  

So, what is Paul telling us to do when we get to chapter 12?  In the first couple of verses, he tells us a couple of important things.  One, we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices.  The reason we are to present our bodies in this manner is our bodies are the Temple of God.  But unlike the Old Testament sacrifices which were notoriously dead, our New Testament sacrifices are to be alive.  Jesus died as our perfect sacrifice.  Now we are to live as a holy and acceptable sacrifice.

The second thing we are told to do is to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  This is a continual action.  In other words we are to be constantly being transformed or changed.  This constant transformation is the result of a constant renovation in the way we think.  The only way we can be involved in a constant renovation in the way we think is we have to be constantly in the Word of God.  The Word of God in us changes the way we think.  When the way we think changes, the way we live changes.  

This is so simple and yet so difficult.  It is a simple thing to say we all need to be in God’s Word more.  But it is a difficult thing to do because of all the pressures and busyness of life.  The bad thing is that even with all the pressures and busyness of life, we are still being bombarded by the corrupt messages of our culture.  Never doubt those corrupt cultural messages are having a huge impact on the way we think and the way we live.

So we have to be committed to being in the Word on a frequent, consistent basis.  This process of your reading a chapter of the Bible each day and working through these daily devotions can actually be a big part of that. I want to encourage you to stick with this.  My words won’t make much of a difference in the long run.  But God’s Word can make an eternal difference.

The rest of chapter 12 can sort of be divided into two sections.  The first one, in verses 3-8, is how we should serve in the church.  The second one, in verses 9-21, is how we should live in the world.  

I wish we had the space to break down those two sections.  If we did, we would find in that first section that when we are saved, God gifts us very special spiritual abilities to serve the church.  The list of these spiritual gifts in this section is not a comprehensive list.  But the principle is clear.  God gives us unique abilities to make a positive difference in the church.

We also would find in that second section that God calls us to a most high standard when He talks about how we are to live in this world.  This Christian life is not easy.  But it is better.  Always. 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Romans 11




SCRIPTURE: Romans 11

This chapter deals with an age old question: what about Israel?  This question has been asked by countless people through the years because every time that Israel seems to be wiped out, done away with, and gone, there is a miraculous rebirth.  

So, to answer the question what about Israel, let’s start at the beginning.  God chose Israel.  And when God chooses, He does not unchoose.  That simply means that once God declared Israel His chosen people, they have been and will always be God’s chosen people.  So, why did God choose Israel?

Deuteronomy 7:7-9 speaks to this.  What we learn there is God did not choose Israel because there were more of them than any other nation.  God did not choose Israel because they were better than any other nation.  God did not choose Israel because they would be more faithful than any other.  He chose them because He chose to choose them.  He chose to love them.  In the same way we might ask why did God save us.  He saved us because He chose to save us.  Thank God that when He chooses, He does not unchoose.

When Romans 11 opens, Paul asks the question: “Has God rejected Israel?”  His answer is a resounding “No”.  And most of the remainder of the chapter is evidence that God has not rejected Israel.  Paul uses himself as an example. (Remember.  He was a Jewish man.)  He uses an incident with Elijah as an example.  He adds the Gentiles as a reminder.  The Patriarchs of the Old Testament are an example.  And finally, all of the work of God is an example.

But don’t miss this point.  Although God had not and will not reject Israel, Israel has a long history of rejecting God.  This rejection actually started in the wilderness not long after Moses led the people from the slavery of Egypt.  Even with all the consistent proof of God’s continuing relationship with Israel, the Hebrew people continually turned their back on Him.  

I want to be careful not to overstate this.  Although I am most accurate when I speak of the Hebrew people turning their backs on God, I am speaking of this in terms of the nation.  Throughout history and all of the events of the Hebrew nation rejecting God, there was always a remnant of Hebrew people who stayed faithful to God.  And God would work through those faithful ones to bring the rest of the nation back to Him.

We see this happen during the days of Jesus.  The nation of Israel rejected Him as the promised Messiah.  But thousands of Jewish people did accept Him and were saved.  There are Jewish people still accepting Jesus as the promised Messiah.  God is still at work among His chosen people.

This is also prophesied during the last days.  During the Great Tribulation, there will be 144,000 Jewish people set aside and protected by God.  These 144,000 represent 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  One of the crazy things about that is we are not sure where members of some of the twelve tribes are today.  

But God knows.  He always knows.  And He has made a choice that Israel is His chosen people.  And that choice will not be changed.  God has gone and will go to great lengths to protect at least a remnant of His chosen people so that the nation of Israel will continue as the recipient of His great blessings.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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