Reading Through Romans 12-13
There first eight chapters of Romans was a doctrinal dissertation regarding sin, salvation, and sanctification. The teaching, which is simply another word for doctrine, is deep and requires much prayerful meditation. Paul lays the foundation or the groundwork for our “duty.” As with all of Paul’s epistles, Paul lays out our position and then our practice; the truth then the task.
Chapters nine through elven function as a parenthetical interruption to explain how the gospel relates to the Jews. Paul carefully explains that God’s promises to the Jews are still valid and binding. Paul assures the Jews that God is faithful and will one day save His chosen people.
Now comes the practical part. Beginning in chapter twelve and running through chapter fifteen and verse thirteen we discover our responsibility. In this section we see how God’s righteousness which has been imputed to us leads us to a new life and a new way of life. In other words, here is how the gospel is played out in our everyday life. This section carefully lays out the practical implications of God’s saving mercy. Read it well, read it often.
Today we will read further in this practical section by reading chapters fourteen and fifteen.
In verses one and two we find our only response to the truths contained in chapters one through eight – the offering of ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. These two verses are our spell out our response to God’s grace. Do not pass over these two verses quickly – there is probably a good 15-20 weeks of messages or lessons in those two verses.
The Christian life is a battle. The battle rages between the mind and the flesh. In the flesh is no good thing. The flesh wares against the Spirit and can never be subject to God. We are to be transformed in to the image of Christ. How? By the renewing of our mind by feeding on the things of the Holy Spirit. This results in our being able to tell what is God’s will and what is not.
In verses three through eight Paul delineates the various gifts that have been given to believers in the body. These gifts are to be used to develop and mature one another in the body of Christ. Each believer has at least one gift and that gift is to be used on behalf of the other members in the body for their good.
In verses nine through 21 Paul delineates the marks of a true Christian. Do you want to know what a Christian looks like? The new life of believers is described in this section. Here we read of the type of life that pleases God.
In verses one through seven we see Paul addressing the response and responsibility of believers to governing authorities. Believers are to be subject to our governing authorities. Government has been instituted by God. Resisting or disobeying government brings great consequences. Not merely by the government but by God who is in charge of government.
In verses eight through fourteen Paul addresses the relationship that believers have with the Mosaic Law. The first phrase in verse eight amplifies what is said in verse seven. The rest of verse eight to the end of the chapter shows that the law is summed up on the command to love our neighbor or love one another. We see Paul reminding his readers how short the time is before Jesus Christ returns for us. Also Paul gives some commands on living properly and how to do so.