Romans 12:1: Responding to the Gospel
- Paul’s appeal
- God’s mercies
- Our worship
Why and how should we be holy? That is the question we are now concerning ourselves with as we reach the second part of Romans. The first part of Romans was ‘How does God save?’; now we are looking at how we are to live now that we are saved. If you can remember back to our first message on Romans we compared Paul’s letter to a giant meaty sandwich. The two slices of bread being the intro of 1:1-15, and the conclusion of the letter in chapter 16, and sandwiched in between was the meaty message of the gospel. As we took a step closer to our giant sandwich we saw that there were two major parts to it, chapters 1-11 made up the doctrinal part of the letter which focused on the gospel, and 12-15 made up the practical part which focused on how Christians must now live that they are saved. As we took another step closer to our Guinness world record breaking sandwich we saw that there were five slightly smaller sections to this meaty filling. The central theme of Paul’s letter to the Romans is the ‘gospel of God’ introduced in the very first verse. And so these 5 sections all unpack aspects of this gospel. 1:18-3:20 was The Necessity of the Gospel, here we looked at the bad news that all are sinners and need God to save us for we cannot save ourselves. In 3:21-4:25 we looked at The Provision of the Gospel, here we saw how God saves by grace through faith, through Christ as our propitiation. In 5-8 we looked at The Benefits of the Gospel, here we saw our assurance and how we are saved to the uttermost. And we saw Paul deal with the two questions that would arise in the legalist’s mind. ‘What will ensure holiness if we are not saved by the law?’ And, ‘Doesn’t the gospel of grace make the law bad?’ In 9-11, Paul anticipated an objection to the statement that God saves all those who He elects. He expects people to object that if nothing can separate the elect from God’s love what about the Jews, they were elect and are now rejected. In these chapters God spoke about how all Israel is not Israel and God final plan for the Jews. Having expanded on the Gospel at length Paul now comes to the part where we make our response.
Chapters 12-16 divide up very easily. Stott gives this helpful outline: 12:1-2 speaks about our relationship to God with consecrated bodies and renewed minds. 12:3-8 speaks about our relationship to ourselves by thinking soberly about our gifts. 12:9-16 speaks about our relationship to one another by loving as family. 12:17-21 speaks about our relationship to our enemies with service not retaliation. 13:1-7 speaks about our relationship to the state as conscientious citizenship. 13:8-10 speaks of our relationship to the law with neighbour love fulfilling it. 13:11-14 speaks of our relationship with the times and living in the already but not yet. 14:1-15:13 speaks about our relationship to the weak by welcoming them and not despising, judging or offending them. 15:14-16:27 the letter ends with Paul giving the Romans information on his ministry and giving his greetings.
Today we are going to be focusing in on 12:1. These first two verses are a summary of our response which encompasses our whole lives. V1 is positive, v2 is put in the negative. As we look at v1 we want to note, Paul’s appeal, God’s mercies and our worship.