Summary: Continuation of the expository study of the Book of Romans
Book of Romans Study
By Rev. James May
Romans 12:1 – 12:2
In the chapters of Romans that we have already studied, the Apostle Paul has presented some powerful doctrinal teaching concerning God’s dealings with both Jew and Gentiles alike. He has established God’s divine order of bringing salvation to all mankind.
God began his plan with the end in mind because he knows the end from the beginning. He established the method and means by which his plan should be brought to pass, and of course, God’s plan never fails. From eternity past the love of God determined to create man and make us after his own image with body, soul and spirit and with the ability to have free will to make our own choices.
God did not want more messengers and servants, like the angels that he had already created. He wanted an eternal being more like himself, with the capacity for great love, mercy and grace; but also with the capacity for sin and evil beyond measure if man’s choices would take him in that direction. Of course God knew that man would choose rebellion over obedience.
So knowing the heart of man would become evil, God also, in that same moment of formulating his plans, made a way of Salvation for any man who would accept it. He made it easy for us, but very costly for Heaven. The price for man’s redemption was for Jesus, God’s only Son, to give his life and shed his innocent blood to pay the sin debt. God did the hard part; now our part is simply to believe, and then walk as disciples of Christ and sons and daughters of God our Father, living in obedience and faith, trusting only in Jesus for the salvation of our souls.
No man can say that he had any part in determining the means that God used to bring salvation to all men. No man was there to give God advice, either to approve or disapprove of God’s plans.
No man can say that he contributed anything to his own salvation because the complete provision had been made by God alone! God gave all and we receive all by faith, and then must live as sons of God, allowing God’s glory, holiness, righteousness, love, mercy and grace to shine through us as we take on the nature of our Father in Heaven as a Born Again, new creation in Christ, with a heart after God’s own heart and ever seeking to find ways of becoming more like Jesus.
But how are we to find the ways of God? How can a man, who was blind to his sin and ignorant of God’s holiness, and evil to the point of deserving death and eternal punishment in a Lake of Fire, ever find a way to be pleasing to the Lord in this life on earth, in the very midst of darkness, temptation and an ever-increasing rebelliousness against a Holy God?
The first thing we must realize that it is by the Grace of God alone that God allows anything we do, or anything we say, no matter how much we try, or how holy we might try to live, or how much we want to do everything we can to please him. Our righteousness is still as filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord, but through his Grace he keeps us in his hands. Through his mercy, he stops the hand of judgment from coming to us; through his love, he continually convicts us of sin and then it’s back to his Grace, for through his grace alone all of our shortcomings are covered. That’s why we must be in a continual state of repentance for sin, making every effort to turn from the rebelliousness of our own hearts, and ever seek to draw closer to the Lord in obedience.
In chapter 12 we will now learn of the very practical ways of walking in the grace of God and becoming more like God. We will see things we should do to become more like Jesus, and through a lifetime of following these instructions we will become more godly, more sanctified and we will produce the fruits of righteousness in our walk with God.
And through producing the right things, we will show forth the things we produce in our lives to the world, giving glory to God in the process, because our lives will prove to the world that Christ is in us, working in us and through us, to conform us to the image that he had in mind for all men from the very beginning. It is God working in us, making us into the people that he wanted us to be – the very Children of God, sons and daughters that not only appear as God appears, but also have the very nature of God as much as is possible in this life, so that all man may see the reflection of God through us.