Using Gifts to Serve

KEY VERSE: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.” —Romans 12:6


WHILE OUR FORMER studies in Romans have primarily examined doctrinal issues, Paul now turns his attention to the practical application of these lessons in our daily lives. In Romans 12:1,2, the apostle, writing to the church at Rome, exhorts these brethren to yield their bodies a living sacrifice, inasmuch as they have already entered into covenant relationship with the Lord individually. He urges them not to pattern their lives after the world around them, but to let the Lord transform their lives by the renewing of their minds. He addresses the ‘elect’ body of Christ, part of which is being gathered from the Jews, and the remainder from the Gentiles. Then he points out that God called them to suffer with Christ at this present time, and those who prove faithful will live and reign with him in the coming age, to bless all the families of the earth. Our present lesson sets forth some of the characteristics needful for the mature development of any who would make their calling and election sure.

Verse 3: Through the grace given to him, Paul foresaw that one of the greatest temptations among Christians would be the ambition to be great and highly esteemed, even among those in the faith. Therefore he counseled his brethren to make sober estimates of their talents, so that they might make the best use of them as wise and faithful stewards. Paul enjoined them “Do not go beyond what is written. Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”—I Cor. 4:6,7, New International Version

Verses 4,5: Paul assures us of the important and honorable place every member of the body of Christ occupies, though all have not the same office, for it is God who has “set the members, every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (I Cor. 12:18) The church is composed of many diverse persons, all of whom are united in Christ, and are useful and needful one to another. Each should seek to know his place, and to do his part in it for the edification of the body. By way of illustrating this, Paul wrote, “There is one body and one Spirit … just as you were called to one hope. … Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”—Eph. 4:4,15,16, NIV

Verses 6-8: The apostle urges faithfulness in the use of our talents, according to sober and just estimates of them. “Having then, gifts differing,” let us use them with diligence, patience, and cheerfulness, content to be very humble that our talents may point the more to the Master’s great glory. He said, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”—Heb. 6:11,12, NIV

Verses 9,10, NIV: “Let love be unfeigned,” not hypocritical, but always pure. The pure love puts no confidence in the flesh; it recognizes the inherent depravity of the old nature, and keeps the flesh under. When Paul said, “In honor preferring one another,” he was expressing the thought that we should love a brother in the faith as we would a natural brother, while in all humility, considering those of our brethren in the faith as more worthy than ourselves.

In verses 11,12: Paul exhorts us to do nothing at any time except that which is to the glory of God, and. to do everything to’ please him. He says: “We are to rejoice in hope of [attaining] that glory of God” (Rom. 5:2); and to continue to seek more of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul urged the Philippians, to follow his and others’ examples as they followed Christ (Phil. 3:17); to share with those of God’s people in need; to pray for those who persecuted them, without reviling them; to rejoice in Christian fellowship; to triumph over pride and conceit; to be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone; and, as much as is possible, to live at peace and in harmony with all.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |