How should believers live? Paul addresses this in chapters 12-16. He begins with a foundation in 12:1-2. Those who have received God’s mercies must live a life dedicated to living like Christ (12:1), not like the world (v. 2).
Christians must be humble, not allowing differing gifts to be a source of pride but rather faithfully serving through such to edify the church (vv. 3-8). Six marks of a righteous, transformed life are then listed: righteous love (v. 9a), values (v. 9b), brotherhood (v. 10), effort (v. 11), devotion (v. 12), and care (v. 13). Christians must have righteous desires toward those who hate them (v. 14), righteous affection toward the saints (v. 15), and righteous attitudes toward every believer (v. 16).
Even when persecuted, God’s will for suffering believers (vv. 17-21) is that they do not seek revenge but show grace by doing good (v.17b), being peaceful (v.18c), and showing compassion (v. 20a). Persecuted saints must trust the Lord, leaving persecutors in God’s hands either to judge them (v. 19b) or to change their hearts (v. 20b).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Christian, think about God’s mercies toward you (v. 1)! Review from chapters 1-3 how lost you were and from chapters 4-5 about the salvation Jesus gave you. Think back to chapters 6-8 how you then should live, no longer giving yourself to serve sin but righteousness, participating in the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart. What did you deserve? What have you received? What is the only right response?
- Christian, every day and throughout your day you must live out verses 1-2. What is said there is not a one-time crisis moment of dedication, but a life-long worshipful response with every aspect of your being to God. You must do this!
- As you grow more like Christ and less like the world you will better know and understand God’s will (v. 2). Consider the different people and life situations in this chapter: what is God’s will for you for each of these? You won’t know that if you think like the world! Change your thinking to Christ’s!