Pressures on the Christian Family

MEMORY SELECTION: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” —Romans 12:2

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Romans 12:1-10, 14-18

OUR selected scripture for today is pertinent if applied to the family of God. The first verse of the 12th chapter of Romans reminds the consecrated footstep followers of Jesus that they have made a covenant to die with the Lord. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

The word therefore in our text tells us that what follows is a conclusion based on a previously presented set of facts; and if we examine the 11th chapter, starting with the 30th and 31st verses, we read, “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.”

Here the apostle reminds the Gentile brethren that it was only because of Israel’s unbelief that God directed his mercy toward the Gentiles, that they might be grafted into God’s arrangement and thus become part of the spiritual seed of Abraham. This arrangement is a blessing for Israel too; because even though they had failed to bring forth fruit and had been cast off as a nation with respect to the promise (Matt. 23:38,39), the nation of Israel will eventually be blessed in the kingdom through the ministration of the glorified spiritual seed of Abraham.—Rom. 11:25-27

The apostle concludes his reasoning on this matter with the beautiful statement in Romans 11:33-36. Then, continuing to direct his remarks to the Gentile brethren, he says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

The thought is that, in view of this wonderful provision made possible by God’s grace, the brethren should zealously carry out the terms of their consecration vows and yield their bodies to be sacrificed. This means that they should consider their bodies as dead, being useful only in serving the interests of the new mind and the spiritual life of the consecrated, the strength and energy of the flesh being used to serve the truth, the brethren, and the kingdom interests. This is spoken of as a “living sacrifice,” because it is continuous throughout the lifetime of the consecrated.

This arrangement is acceptable to God because of the application of the blood of Christ on behalf of the consecrated. This gives them a standing before God, or justifies them, releasing them from adamic condemnation.—Col. 1:14; I Cor. 6:20; I Pet. 1:18,19; Acts 20:28; Rev. 5:9; Rom. 8:1

The apostle continues, saying that “this is your reasonable service.” In other words, the Lord has made wonderful arrangements whereby Gentiles and Jews may participate in the sacrificial offering for sins. And considering that the glorified church will have the wonderful privilege of blessing not only Israel, but all the families of the earth, surely the church’s sacrifice must be regarded as a reasonable service. It is not that the church adds to the efficacious merit of Christ in any sense, but their sacrifice is merely counted in as part of the whole.

In Romans 12:2 the apostle tells us that as the sacrifice goes on there must also be a change that takes place in the mind. The mind must be “renewed”; that is, a new direction given to the mind. Whereas previously the mind was self-centered, conformed to the world, henceforth it is to be selfless in its attitude, seeking to do only those things that are pleasing to God.

Then in the succeeding verses of the 12th chapter the apostle proceeds to outline in some detail how this objective of renewing the mind can be accomplished.

In the economy of the Lord’s arrangement it is the experiences which come about through the sacrificing of the flesh that offer most of the opportunities for the development of the new mind.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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