On Sunday we continued to look at how the Gospel renews us from Romans 12. In previous weeks we’ve seen how the gospel transforms us into a people who willingly offer our whole lives as worship to God (Rom. 12:1-2). We’ve seen how the gospel creates a culture of service (Rom. 12:3-8). Finally, we are looking at how the gospel renews us as a community of genuine love. We looked at part 1 (Rom. 12:9-11) Sunday and we will finish part 2 (Rom. 12:12-21) next Sunday.
We saw that Romans 12 is actually the reversal of the fall of mankind. In Romans 1:18ff Paul describes the fall of humanity in three (at least) ways: (1) Mankind exchanged the worship of God for the worship of creation, (2) mankind’s mind was corrupted through this idolatry, and (3) mankind’s behavior fell into all manner of unrighteousness. In Romans 12 we find that reversed: instead of worshipping idols, we now offer our lives in worship to God through Christ; instead of a corrupt mind, we have minds that are transformed and renewed; and, instead of all manner of unrighteousness, our lives are now filled with the fruit of love.
From this comparison we made the very important note that this means that the church is actually a redeemed, renewed humanity. We are the New Creation now, although not yet perfected. We are to be a witness to the reality that Jesus is present and His Kingdom has come. Therefore, the list of attributes given in Romans 12:9-21 is not a list of how to get into God’s kingdom. Nor is it just some general list of “Christian” virtues. Rather, it’s a description of what it means to be a member of a renewed human community in Christ.
We looked at four expressions of this. A New Creation community is marked by: (1) Genuine Love, (2) Righteousness, (3) Brotherly Love, and (4) Zealous Service. Of course, these markers overlap with one another and influence one another. For example, we explored how righteousness and love are actually compatible, not at odds with one another, because love always seeks what is good and right for others. We noted that a New Creation community will abhor evil, but cling to the good. Finally, we saw that the Presence of God’s Spirit ought to cause us to “be on fire” or to “boil”. The same Spirit that infused the first creation is not at work in us as the New Creation; therefore, we must be lively and zealous. However, this zeal is to be put to good use, to “serve the Lord.” Zeal can be quite self-centered, but zeal that is from the Spirit will result in serving the body of Christ. May this very Spirit help us to live as a New Creation community!
- “Never in the NT does the author tell us what to do before he tells us what God has done for us.” How should this shape our mindset when it comes to checking things off our lists?
- Abhor what is evil and cling to that which is good. When it comes to entertainment, do you abhor that which is evil and cling to what’s good? What would that look like for you? How can you tell if you’re dull and unresponsive toward evil?
- Outdo one another in showing honor – How can you show honor toward a brother or sister in the body this week?
- What are some things that prevent you from “boiling in the Spirit”?