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Commentary: Romans 12

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, outlines many important doctrinal understandings. Think of them as commentary on how to measure the commitment and extent of your relationship with Jesus the Christ.

1.       I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2.       And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)
Here, Paul commands that in order that we might carry out the will of God (on earth as it is in heaven) we must present Him with a sacrifice (an act of worship). But instead of the pre-mature death and burning of some innocent animal on an altar, we are to surrender our sovereign will to His, so that we can be used in His service in the design of His purposes. Our natural thinking must be transformed; and completely changed from its natural operation, into something totally different. Paul identifies the "natural mind" as conformity to the world.
Jesus also outlines the characteristics of the transformed mind in His preaching of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5). Back in Romans, Paul does not leave us with these lofty ambiguous thoughts, but brings a practical message, identifying the characteristics of a transformed mind in verses 9-21. Unlike the rest of the world, "Let your love be without hypocrisy." Learn to truly "abhor (hate) evil" and "cling (hold on) to goodness."

 Paul's summary of the transformed mind challenges us with 10-15 practical principle behaviors summed up with verse 21, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Wrap Up:
1) The first characteristic of the transformed mind is the ability to recognize and hold on to goodness; and with determined fervor, see that it is triumphant against all "get even" scenarios that the natural mind yearns for.
2) Secondly, with humility of mind, trust God to make a way. Let Him change the things that attempt to confound the way of goodness; with faith through prayer allow God to minister justice. This relieves us from the ministry of condemnation and points our hearts with singleness of mind toward the ministry of reconciliation.

Final Thoughts:
The main characteristic of the natural mind that both commentators, Jesus in Matthew and Paul in Romans, allude to is one that exalts personal honor and justifies an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth mentality. But the renewed mind sees a higher moral order through the humble obedience of faith before God. Forgiveness must become the hallmark of our attitude toward all people and especially our enemies. Trusting in the goodness of God, Jesus made a way for grace, God's ultimate free gift, to find those who needed it most. In this example, we must follow.