Romans 12* Believers are to dedicate themselves to God. (1,2) To behumble, and faithfully to use their spiritual gifts, in theirrespective stations. (3-8) Exhortations to various duties.(9-16) And to peaceable conduct towards all men, withforbearance and benevolence. (17-21)1,2 The apostle having closed the part of his epistle whereinhe argues and proves various doctrines which are practicallyapplied, here urges important duties from gospel principles. Heentreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the merciesof God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him.This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every daythe fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are,all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it forsuch very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonableservice, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, andwhich we understand. Conversion and sanctification are therenewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of thequalities of the soul. The progress of sanctification, dying tosin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, isthe carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected inglory. The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to thisworld. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though itlay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do notfall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of theflesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost firstbegins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will,affections, and conversation, till there is a change of thewhole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness,and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves toGod. 3-8 Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned andarmed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, whois the Head of the body, and the common Centre of their unity.In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to onesort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do allthe good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. Ifwe duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we failproperly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must notbe proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under apretence of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in layingout ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I amnothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I amnothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to theutmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever ourgifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselveshumbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seekingour own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this worldand that which is to come. 9-16 The professed love of Christians to each other should besincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and deceitfulcompliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest anddread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind anduseful. We must not only do that which is good, but we mustcleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up inone word, love. This denotes the love of parents to theirchildren; which is more tender and natural than any other;unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal forthe gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all hiswordly business, and in gaining superior skill. God must beserved with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit.He is honoured by our hope and trust in him, especially when werejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for him,but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer.Patience for God's sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice inhope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. We should not becold in the duty of prayer, nor soon weary of it. Not only mustthere be kindness to friends and brethren, but Christians mustnot harbour anger against enemies. It is but mock love, whichrests in words of kindness, while our brethren need realsupplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready toentertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we mustwelcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough goodwill; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at othertimes; but bless them always, and curse not at all. TrueChristian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys ofeach other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the samespiritual truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree inaffection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holycontempt. Do not mind it; be not in love with it. Be reconciledto the place God in his providence puts you in, whatever it be.Nothing is below us, but sin. We shall never find in our heartsto condescend to others, while we indulge conceit of ourselves;therefore that must be mortified. 17-21 Since men became enemies to God, they have been veryready to be enemies one to another. And those that embracereligion, must expect to meet with enemies in a world whosesmiles seldom agree with Christ's. Recompense to no man evil forevil. That is a brutish recompence, befitting only animals,which are not conscious of any being above them, or of anyexistence hereafter. And not only do, but study and take care todo, that which is amiable and creditable, and recommendsreligion to all with whom you converse. Study the things thatmake for peace; if it be possible, without offending God andwounding conscience. Avenge not yourselves. This is a hardlesson to corrupt nature, therefore a remedy against it isadded. Give place unto wrath. When a man's passion is up, andthe stream is strong, let it pass off; lest it be made to ragethe more against us. The line of our duty is clearly marked out,and if our enemies are not melted by persevering kindness, weare not to seek vengeance; they will be consumed by the fierywrath of that God to whom vengeance belongeth. The last versesuggests what is not easily understood by the world; that in allstrife and contention, those that revenge are conquered, andthose that forgive are conquerors. Be not overcome of evil.Learn to defeat ill designs against you, either to change them,or to preserve your own peace. He that has this rule over hisspirit, is better than the mighty. God's children may be askedwhether it is not more sweet unto them than all earthly good,that God so enables them by his Spirit, thus to feel and act.
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