In verse 1-2 Paul helped us see that being a living sacrifice was our rightful positioning in God.
Honoring the Lord comes first. Now here in verse 3, he is discussing the body of Christ and the fellowship among Christians. I love Romans because it teaches us not only what God has done for us but also what we supposed to do now that God has saved us.
One of the things that Paul helps us understand is the way that we are to think.
Right off the bat Paul gives us a directive: Be careful of how you think of yourself.
It’s easy to either overestimate or underestimate ourselves. Our quick and human ability to say, “I can do it” or ” I can’t do it” leaves our the power of what God can do in us and through us. God word is true and yet our estimation of ourselves will cloud that truth if we are not careful.
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The word Paul is using for think here literally means to be a man who is in his right mind. This means that we are not to humiliate ourselves or to be puffed up with pride. We are to rather, recognize the truth about ourselves and live in that light of truth. We were made with gifts and abilities. As a living sacrifice, use them for the service of God and the body of Christ.
Why does this being in our right mind with proper estimation of ourselves matter? Because it has to do with body life in the church.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.Romans 12:4-8
We are called to unity as one body. While there may be many of us we all have diverse operations. We don’t all do the same thing, yet we are all to move as one body in Christ and we need eachother. We all are gifted in some way but it is God who has gifted us individually and for His purposes.
Here are the gifts of Grace in the body:
Prophecy in faith – Speaking or “forth-telling” the heart and mind of God in faith – according the truth of our faith in Christ.
Ministry – Helping with the needs of the saints or serving in practical ways the church body.
Teaching – Instructing in the truth of our faith.
Exhortation – Encouraging people to practice what they have been taught.
Giving – Becoming a channel through whom God provides resources for His body. One who gives liberally, meaning generously.
Leadership – One who leads with diligence.
Showing Mercy – Cheerful kindness toward others no matter their circumstance or disposition.
When we as a body work together for the cause of Christ as one body. What a gift we become to the world and what glory we bring to our God and King! We need eachother for this work! It’s always been about we not me.
The thing that sticks out to me about this little portion of scripture is that Paul put together our right estimation of ourselves in the same paragraph as our working with one other. We can see then that sanctification comes through the body of Christ where iron sharpens iron and we must submit to one another, make allowance for eachother, and bear eachothers burdens to keep this body together.
Ephesian 4:1-6 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
We are to be a living, working body…
Thanks for Listening,