Summary: A survey of Romans chapters 1-11, giving reasons for the "therefore" in Romans 12:1. Reasons for godly living.
LIVING A STEP ABOVE
Verse 1 of chapter 12 includes the word, “Therefore.” In the Holman Christian Standard Bible, the verse begins with the word “Therefore.” One of the things we must learn when we read our Bibles is that whenever we see the word “therefore,” we must look back and see what that “therefore” is there for.
Several years ago, Gladys and I had the opportunity to drive over to Arkansas and bum breakfast off of some friends of ours by the name of Ben and Martha Durham. At the time we visited, Ben had just retired and had started working on some projects he had been putting off for years. One of the projects he was working on was a new shop.
While we were there, Ben took me out and showed me where he was building the shop. It was going to be a pretty good size. I believe he said it was going to be 27 X 40. When we were there, Ben had just completed the foundation. Around the outside of where his shop was going to be he dug a trench 2 feet deep and about 1 ½ feet wide. Just in that footer alone he poured 15 yards of concrete.
When I looked at it, I asked him, “Ben, why did you make the footers so big? Why did you make it so expensive?” He told me, “Brother Gene, when I build something I want it to last. I want it to have a solid foundation.”
Paul evidently wants the same thing when he builds an argument for living a Christian life. That is why he spent the first 11 chapters of this book building a foundation for what was going to follow. And it is this foundation that he refers to when he says “therefore.” He says, “Because of everything I said in the first 315 verses of this book, because of everything I have said in the first 11 chapters of this book, you are to present your bodies, a living sacrifice. But, what is this foundation? On what basis does Paul call us to live Godly lives? I believe this foundation is made up of 4 parts. First, Paul says we are to live godly lives because all of us are sinners.
I. THE REASON FOR GODLY LIVING
A. ALL OF US ARE SINNERS
In the first 2 ½ chapters of Romans, Paul describes how man has fallen out of favor with God. He says, “Everyone has sinned.” My friends, the first step to Christian living is to realize that you are a sinner. Everyone who has ever lived has sinned.
Some may ask, “Well, what about sister Theresa? She has spent her life trying to help the sick and starving children over seas. What about her?” To this, Paul answers in Romans 3:10,
> Romans 3:10 As it is written: there is no one righteous, not even one;
But brother Gene, what about Mrs. So and so, or Mr. So and so. All she has ever done is try to help people. Why, there isn’t a person in the county who would say anything bad about her. To this Paul replies, “There is none righteous, no not one.”
Now, some of you may argue that you have tried to live a good life. You may say you have done the best you could. You have done more good things than you have bad and surely that must count for something. Surely the good will outweigh the bad. Again Paul answers, “There is none righteous. Not even one.”
My friends, God is a perfect and holy God. He cannot stand to have sin in His presence. You can clothe yourself with church attendance, and with giving to the poor. You can fix your appearance by teaching or working in the church. You can put on all the perfume of good works that you want to, but there is still on you the stench of sin that overpowers the perfume.
If you have ever lived in a pulpwood town, a town with a paper mill, you know the stink that those plants can put out. A number of years ago, they tried covering the stench coming from a plant in Jacksonville by adding perfume to it. If you have ever driven on the 295 loop around Jacksonville, you may have experienced the result. What did they get? Perfumed stink.
My friends, that is how we all started, with stinking sin in our lives. To drive home the point, Paul says in Romans 3:23,
> Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Every man, every woman, every child, who has ever lived has sinned, and that includes you. Paul says we should live godly lives first, because we remember we are all sinners. Second, he says we should live Christian lives because there is a punishment for sin.