Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Project 4:4--Day Three Hundred Forty-Three

Day Three Hundred Forty-Three, Romans 12-16

Back to some of my favorite passages in this final part of Romans, as Paul gets out of the weighty and theological, and back to the more real and practical.

I love that he starts off by first challenging the people to be holy.  Their entire lives are now to be worship to the Creator.  "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will."

Paul again uses the body metaphor to talk to them about the use of their spiritual gifts.  I won't go into that here, because we covered that sufficiently in looking at Corinthians.  But he also gives some wonderful instruction--some of my favorite, really--in talking about loving your fellow man:

"Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: '"It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.'  On the contrary:  'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

He goes on to talk about our duty to submit to the authorities that God has placed over us.  But then he continues again, saying that we are to do all that we do out of love:

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."

Paul also talks again about mutual submission to each other as brothers and sisters.  He talks about the fact that there are certain issues that are matters of conscience, and he talks about the importance of not causing a brother to stumble.  Again, this was covered sufficiently in the letter to the Corinthians.

Paul ends his letter talking about his ministry, commending some of the brothers and sisters, and telling the Romans of his desire to come to them.

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