Romans 12:1

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Romans 12:1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” – Romans 12:1

First, I want to look at the beginning of our focus verse where he calls all his listening brothers and sisters. Throughout the letter’s earlier chapters, he has been conscious of the tensions between Jews and Gentiles in the Roman church, and in chapters 9–11 he was describing the roles of Israel and of the nations in the unfolding, historical plan of God. He will revert to them again for the last time in chapters 14–15. But now, as he develops his appeal, the distinction between the olive tree’s natural and grafted branches (Israel and Non-Israel) fades into the background. Now all believers, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are brothers and sisters in the one international family of God, and so all have precisely the same vocation to be the holy, committed, humble, loving, and conscientious people of God.

The word sacrifice used here commonly denotes the action of bringing and presenting an animal or other sacrifice before an altar. It implies that the action was a free and voluntary offering. Religion is free; and the act of devoting ourselves to God is one of the freest things we ever perform. To present our bodies to God is a metaphor taken from bringing sacrifices to the altar of God. The person offering picked out the choicest of his flock, brought it to the altar, and presented it there as an atonement for his sin. The readers here are exhorted to give themselves up in the spirit of sacrifice; to be as wholly the Lord’s property as the whole burnt offering was, no part being devoted to any other use. Nothing can be more consistent with reason than that the work of God should glorify God. We are not our own, we are the property of the Lord, by the right of creation and redemption; and it would be as unreasonable as it would be wicked not to live to his glory, in strict obedience to his will, which is our spiritual service of worship.

One major way we can do this is found in verse 2. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2. The word ‘conformed’ used here properly denotes an age, or generation of people. It may denote a particular generation, or it may be applied to the race. It is sometimes used in each of these senses. Thus, here it may mean that Christians should not conform to the ideas, habits, feelings, etc., of a wicked, luxurious, and idolatrous age, but should be conformed solely to the precepts and laws of the gospel; or the same principle may be extended to every age, and the direction may be, that Christians should not conform to the prevailing habits, style, and manners of the world, the people who do not know God. They are to be governed by the laws of God as found in the Bible; to fashion their lives after the example of Christ; and to conform themselves by principles different from those which prevail in the world.

Many may think they are not conformed to the world, while they can easily perceive that their neighbor is. They indulge in many things which others may think to be conformity to the world and are opposed to many things which others think innocent. The design of this passage is no doubt to produce a spirit that should not find pleasure in the things and vanities of this world, but in obedience and devotion to God, as well as fellowship with Him and His people.; things God calls us all to do. We must be transformed from our old self to a new creation by focusing on Him and changing the way we think to His ways and not the world’s ways.

These are very important verses that we must read, understand, and obey. We, as Christians, are God’s people and we must act accordingly. We must not simply give some, or even most of ourselves, to God. We must give our all to Him, present who we are to Him in humility and joy. He created us, died for us, and rose again offering to us a wonderful life in Him. Let us then be thankful to Him for all He has done in giving everything we are to Him as He gave everything for us. We must focus our minds on Him totally, not the world. And when we do this, as Romans 12:2 says, we may prove what the will of God is; that which is good, acceptable to God, and perfect.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 6:1

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 6:1

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” – Galatians 6:1

Paul is laying out here how to address fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when they fall into sin.  Now this could be by surprise or ignorance, not realizing they were sinning, or out of the stress of temptation where they gave in to a sinful action.  Paul lays out how, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to respond to those who find themselves in this predicament. 

He starts out by stating “we who are spiritual”. What is meant here are those who have not given in to these temptations but continued to live as they ought.  Theologian Joseph Benson says it like this.  “Who have received the Spirit of truth, grace, and wisdom, and who continue to live and walk by and in the Spirit.”  This is our responsibility while here on earth.  The more truly spiritual we are, the more we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ to grow more in their walk, and in this instance, to help them understand the error of their ways and guide them back to where they ought to be.  And this is to be done in love and gentleness.  We are not to yell at them, embarrass or ridicule them, but we are to work to restore them in love and compassion.  We are to address the issue with them in an attitude of meekness and humility.  Yes, we are to correct them.  However, this must be done in love and not in arrogance and hurtfulness.  Our ultimate goal is not to shame them, but to bring them to repentance.

And taking this one step further, we must look at ourselves so that we will not be tempted.  We must be careful we do not allow ourselves to be tempted in the same manner or tempted to come across as other than gentle and loving.  This is a distinct warning that we look at ourselves as to carefully observe our own spirit and conduct, lest our eyes be fixed not on ourselves, but exclusively on those of their brother.  And Satan can and will work against us in order disrupt our work for God.  

Jesus said it like this, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17.  It is important that we do all we can to bring correction to a sinful brother or sister and bring them to repentance.  We cannot force the issue, but in love we must do what we can, being in prayer the whole time.

And finally, Paul wrote the following to the Church in Rome.  “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Romans 15:1-3. Our focus as strong Christians are to take the responsibility to build up the weaker members of this body and not focus entirely on ourselves.  This is what Paul is saying in this focus verse, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1.  Just as Jesus did not please himself but accepted the roles of dying for us.  This, we also should die to ourselves for the sake of the body.  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.