Romans 12: Putting Faith into Practice

How do we apply the life of Christ in us to practical everyday life? In other words, how do we put our faith into practice? Paul addresses this topic in Romans 12, focusing on how personal consecration leads to corporate transformation.

God’s Sovereign Plan

In chapters 9–11, Paul looks at how God’s sovereign purposes cannot be thwarted. In particular, he addresses God’s continuing plan for the nation of Israel. After all, from our perspective it seems as though God’s plan for His people has failed. They have rejected His Word, and salvation has moved out to the Gentiles.

Paul argues that God’s plan has not failed. Instead, it is ongoing. He is still at work within the nation of Israel. Their failure has led to riches for the world, allowing the Gentiles to be grafted into the family of God. But there is still hope for Israel as well: they can be grafted back in despite their rebellion.

Personal Consecration

Having laid out God’s plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, Paul turns to personal consecration in Romans 12:1–2:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 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.

This central text invites us to adopt an eternal perspective, recognizing our human responsibility to respond to God. Instead of letting the world define us by default, we need to choose to worship God and sacrifice ourselves through a radical commitment to God.

We will be conformed to what we pursue most. Pursuing Christ, then, conforms us to His image. In such a way, the life of Christ in us becomes more and more apparent in our lives during this brief earthly sojourn.

Corporate Transformation

As we focus on God, we realize that we do not need to be arrogant, recognizing the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ. God, after all, has given us different spiritual gifts. Each person has a gift, and each person ought to use that gift for the edification of fellow believers.

The more we grasp our true identity in Christ, the more we will be able to love those around us. This requires an ongoing renewal process, but the more Christocentric we become, the more others-centered we also become. We approach relationships not out of deficiency, but out of the overflow of the sufficiency of Christ. This identity and position in Christ enables us to follow the exhortations Paul gives in the latter part of Romans 12.

Romans 12: Putting Faith into Practice

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