Please, if you don’t listen to a word I have to say in any other episode of Relentless Truth, listen to this episode. The truth here is powerful, and the perspective Paul gives us here has changed my life and will change yours!
I get to hang out in class with amazing High School 11th and 12th graders for 32 weeks each year. It is a rich blessing to get to know them and their parents. While I’m not conducting any sort of social experiment, I do get to know what most people believe about Scripture and its teaching. Among some of the common things we share from our backgrounds is incredibly narrow teaching on Romans 12.
Our Bodies As A Living Sacrifice
I’m wondering if you can relate to something I have observed about the teaching in most evangelical environments on Romans 12 over the years? I have heard countless sermons and lessons on sexual purity based on Romans 12:1 and 2. It is almost as if the rest of the chapter doesn’t exist, and most of the lessons didn’t bother placing even the first two verses in context. The result of all of this is that we miss some of the beauty of this chapter.
In this episode, I explain the straightforward instructions Paul is giving us in this chapter. The notion of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice is much more than just sexual purity. This admonition is to present our whole person. Most importantly, we do this based on who God is as explained throughout this letter and specifically in Romans 11:33-36!
Paul isn’t saying that we Christians should go out of our way to be different from the world for the sake of being odd. He’s talking about our pattern of thinking! He’s saying, “don’t follow the world’s pattern of thinking.” This is about our ideology. Sure, ideology informs the way we live, but I believe Paul is teaching that living the Christian life well starts with clear thinking about who God is.
Outdo Each Other In Showing Kindness
Paul explains true transformation and renewal. The words he uses here are similar to metamorphosis and renovation. The Roman church would have been jolted by even the notion of a “living sacrifice.” All of the sacrifices they would be familiar with to any deity whatsoever would have been dead.
Paul goes on to explain how we Christians are to live. If only we esteemed the needs of others ahead of our own by trying to outdo each other in showing kindness as he describes here. He even describes the relationship we are to have with our enemies.
I hope you enjoy the beauty of the truth in this episode. The truths we discuss here are lifechanging. My prayer is that these truths will provide clarity and perhaps correct some of the errant teaching, or at least the less than comprehensive teaching, we have heard on this section of Scripture.
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