Before we go forward, let's review the previous few weeks. In Romans 7, we discovered the source behind all our sin issues; in Romans 8, we learned the answer to that problem is Holy Spirit. In Romans 9-11, we dealt with salvation in light of the Jews believing works saved them. Paul clarified that it is only by faith in Jesus, not works, that one is saved. One must first realize they need salvation to be open to receive it. If we think we are good as is, we, in our pride, will remain in sin.
Romans 12 builds on Romans 8; it takes us from the Spirit working in us to how it works through us, transforming from sin to being an agent of transformation in the world. The first thing in this process is how we present ourselves daily. Romans 12:1 instructs us to present ourselves as living sacrifices, which is worship as a lifestyle, considering all that the Lord has done. We must choose to avail ourselves to God; as a gentleman, He will not force His will on us. In verse 2, it says to be no longer conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may discern what the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God are. As long as we acknowledge God in all our ways, He will direct us, exposing our old way of thinking and revealing His way of doing.
There is no safer place than the center of God's will, each day; we allow the Lord to direct our steps; we become more transformed into His Image. The more we become like Him, the more He works through us. The warning in verse 3 is to remain humble and never forget it is through grace, not works. We partake in the Pharisees' leaven when we, out of pride, think we are better than others. Paul now begins to share how we are like a body made up of many parts. Each part is an individual yet connected to a group; all parts are necessary, and therefore not one part should think they are anything separate from one another. We all need each other to function right.
Our abilities are not our own manufacturing; they have been given to us by grace. The gifts here listed are motivational, the aspect of what drives us as individuals. Verses 6-8 lists them as prophecy, service, teaching, exhorting, giving, generosity, leading, and showing mercy. These motivational gifts should be the determining factors in where one best fit. It is easier to reflect the nature of God in what we do when we enjoy what we do.
Paul now teaches on Christian Ethics in verses 9 through 21. One's behavior speaks volumes. Our message is best seen than heard. We cannot expect to be change agents in the world if our life has not yet been transformed. We lead by example; if people follow us, they must see something in how we behave that they admonish.
If we are allowing God to work in us, He will work through us. As we transform, we become transformers. We may look like everyone else, but Holy Spirit is working through us so that wherever we go, transformation follows. Like the movie says, "there is more than meets the eye."