Summary: Christ died for the Body of Christ; those who have been born physically carry some genetic family qualities. Those who have been born again display some spiritual similarities of the Family of God.
“Saintly Similarities in the Body of Christ”
We have been looking at Romans 12:1-2 for the last few weeks, being challenged by God’s Word and Spirit to the type of lives we offer to God while living in this world: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Our lives are to be “Living, Holy, Sacrificial, and Acceptable to God”. They should be a “Spiritual service of worship”, no longer conforming to the schematic of this world, but working hard at being transformed by the renewing of our minds”, submitting to the pattern of God’s Word and urging of His Spirit, so that we are proving the Good and Perfect Will of God in our living. What we are actually looking at is the Believer’s Responsible, Saintly, and Sound Spirituality and dedicated, sacrificial Christian Living.
Today we look at Romans 12: 3: “For through the grace given to me I say to EVERYONE AMONG YOU not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
This morning we are going to look at Five Saintly Similarities of the Members of the Body of Christ. They are not inherited genetic traits by physical birth, but rather, acquired traits by being born again.
First of all, to whom is Paul speaking in the book of Romans? At the very beginning of this letter, Paul gave us the answer in Romans 1:5-7: “We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles (that’s us!) for His name's sake, (the LORD JESUS CHRIST) 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; (the word for “called” is the root word for “Church”, the “called out” or “invited out”) 7 to ALL who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints (holy ones to God): Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
RECIPIENTS of God’s Grace and Faith
We are all very different, yet IN CHRIST we all relate to each other on the exact same basis, because we ALL have received God’s Grace and Faith in Christ. All who have heard and responded to the invitation to come to Christ and the Cross for forgiveness are included. ALL who have received the Spirit of God in their hearts. ALL who have the Hope of Eternal Life. All of those “Saints” are to listen to these instructions because they are the “beloved” of God, called out of the world to represent Jesus Christ IN the World. If you are a RECIPIENT of God’s Grace and Faith IN CHRIST, this is for you because you Recognize that your ONLY TRUE Treasure is in Christ: You realize that God-given Faith and Grace in Christ is the most valuable treasure you possess and it is what the rest of the world so badly needs. You are part of the “Church”, the body of Christ.
We have to stop saying that we “GO to Church.” You probably learned that when you were a kid. The Church isn’t a building; the Church is a group of believers who MEET in a building. The Church is everyone who has been called out of darkness into the Light and Love of Christ. We are the Local Body of Believers who meet together in this building in order to worship our Savior and God; We are obedient here and we are equipped HERE to GO OUT and BE God’s hands, feet and voice throughout the week. (In these next chapters, we will see how God focuses on His design and purpose for the Local Church, demonstrated as the social context of those LIVING by faith in Jesus Christ in this world.)
Grace is God-given, not earned or merited. Faith is God-given not earned or merited, so what do you have to boast about? Christianity is NOT a performance-based religion: It is not “will-power” religion. Christianity is grace-based, Spirit-filled living. It is actually reactionary faith-based living: It is reactionary to God’s Kindness and Grace to us! Your Christian living is a result of what Christ did FOR you: It was begun on the inside of you by the Work of the Holy Spirit, hand in hand with the Word of God, accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ.
High Minded-Thoughts about YOURSELF
2. The second quality naturally follows:, NO ONE of us thinks higher of himself than another. The idea in the Greek is that THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN! (We looked at the Greek work here, Huperphroneo, several weeks back.) It is “to think more highly of yourself than you ought to”. In verse 2, Paul gave a negative and a positive command: “Do not be conformed to this world, (negative) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In verse three, he follows a similar pattern; here is the negative: “Don’t think higher of yourself than you ought.” DO NOT have High-Minded Thoughts about YOURSELF!