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1. All persons live within a network of relationships, and Christians are no different. What the apostle Paul has shown us in his epistle to the Romans is that the relationships in a believer's life are designed by God to be uniquely spiritual.

a. The believer's relationship with God Himself exists as the result of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. This truth lies at the core of all the great doctrines Paul presented in Romans 1-11.

(1) In Romans 12:1 the believer is instructed in the "reasonable" response to God's great mercy toward him or her: the presentation of his body as a "l __ __ __ __ __ s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __" to God.

(2) "This is the real logic of Christianity. We do not serve God to win his favor but because we have received his favor we serve him in gratitude and love." - Charles R. Erdman: The Epistle of Paul to the Romans

(3) Paul's appeal to consecration involves both an act and an activity, both a gift and a life. The gift of the believer's s __ __ __ to God will result in a life of s __ __ __ __ __ __ for God. This is why Christians call Jesus Christ "L __ __ __." Our true, life-long "vocation" of "Living for Jesus" constitutes, Paul writes, "our s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ a __ __ of w __ __ __ __ __ __." (See also Ephesians 4:1-6)

b. Such a life will surely issue forth in a relationship with the w __ __ __ __ around us which is observably different from those who do not serve Christ with their everyday lives. Paul describes the believer's relationship with the world in Romans 12:2.

(1) We are to move away from c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ to the world.

(2) We are exhorted to be instead t __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by the "renewing of our m __ __ __ __." The believer is made an entirely "new c __ __ __ __ __ __ __" by God's sovereign act of j __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, but his transformation is an on-going process and requires his willing participation. The believer's spiritual transformation will issue forth in moral transformation, but does so in direct proportion to the believer's willingness to have his mind "renewed" by through the faithful study of God's Word. The change is from the inside out.

(3) Any attempt by the believer toward the reverse -- to attempt to transform one's self from the "outside-in" by conformity to an external standard, no matter how worthy and upright that standard may be -- is described by the term "l __ __ __ __ __ __ __." It was the lifestyle of the Pharisees. It is yet another example of the conformity to the world around us which cannot please God.

ref: Matthew 15:8-20

Colossians 2:20-23

(4) "The Christian life is an ongoing discipline of learning to be transformed by the lordship of Christ rather than being conformed to social, moral, and even spiritual images. When the church accommodates itself uncritically to this age, the Christian must resist that conformity as well, not only out of obedience to Christ, but for the purpose of reforming the church to its rightful calling." - James R. Edwards: Romans (Volume 6, New International Biblical Commentary)

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