God’s Renewing Word of Hope
Romans 12:1-21: The apostle Paul says that God’s people no longer need to offer dead animals or make any other sacrifice in order to please God. Rather they are to offer their whole selves in living service to God. Such service involves using the gifts each has received in accordance with God’s grace.
Life in God’s Service
1So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. 2Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
3And because of God’s gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you. 4 We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. 5In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body. 6 So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; 7if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; 8if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.
9Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 10Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. 11Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 12Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 13Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers.
14 Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.
17If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. 18Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. 19 Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.” 20 Instead, as the scripture says: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame.” 21Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.
Today’s Key Verse: Romans 12:1b
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.
The words in verse 1 provide a stark contrast to the practice of consecrating and killing animals in temple sacrifice. Paul now says that we are to “offer [ourselves] as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.” What is your understanding of these words? In what ways can you offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God? Reread verses 9-21. How does Paul describe life in community for God’s people?
Lord God, I offer myself as a living sacrifice, dedicated to a life of service that is pleasing to you. Transform me inwardly so that I may know and do your will. Teach me to share the gifts you have given me for the sake of building up your kingdom and being an instrument of your love. Amen.
Romans 13:1-14: The apostle Paul encourages Christians to obey state authorities.