Written By: Eli
On Tuesday, we talked about the phrase “renewed in the spirit of your minds” found in verse 23 of Ephesians 4. I wanted to take a look at another time that Paul used this phrase, this time in Romans 12.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[f] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans is one of the most thorough teachings of Paul because he was writing to people he had never met. He had to explain who he was and why they should listen to his teachings, then clearly define what the gospel message means for the believer. He also wrote to them in light of their situation, in which the exiled Jews were now allowed to return to Rome, throwing together two very different groups of new believers: Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians. To say that there was conflict would be an understatement.
The theme that God wants to reconcile the whole world to Himself (not just Israel) is woven throughout the epistle, and because of that truth, we should also be reconciled to one another. Because of the gospel of Jesus and the transforming power of His death and resurrection, we are now capable of living the way that God intended for us to live.
- Why would someone test and approve God’s will if God is perfect? (verse 2) What does it mean to “test” it?
- What does it mean in verse 5 that “each member belongs to all the others”? How does this play out in your life?
- When explaining that love must be sincere, we see two themes.
|Guide for Avoiding Conflict||Guide for Going Through Conflict|
|Honor one another above yourselves.||[Be] patient in affliction.|
|Live in harmony with one another.||Bless those who persecute you.|
|Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.||Do not repay anyone evil for evil.|
|If possible, live at peace.||Do not take revenge.|
What does this say about conflict in the life of a believer? What does it reveal about the will and character of God?