As Christ-followers we are different as we…
…Love uniquely. (9a,10,13)
…Hate evil and cling only to good. (9b)
…Serve with Spirit-filled enthusiasm. (11)
…Possess an uncommon disposition. (12)…Return good for evil. (14, 17-21)
…Relate humbly with all people. (15,16)
In chapter 12 the book of Romans transitions from a theological focus about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (chapters 1-11) to a more direct life application focus for how to live-out the Gospel (chapters 12-16). Take note of how Paul kicks-off this application-oriented section of his letter to the Christians in Rome.
1. Read verse 1. What does Paul instruct the Roman Christians to do? What are the “mercies of God” that Paul based his appeal upon (see Romans 5:1-8; 6:23; 8:1-2, 38)? Why are these “mercies” important and foundational to the rest of Paul’s words in verse 1? What words does Paul use to describe how the Roman Christians should present their bodies? What do each of these words men? What do each of these words look like in practical, every day, real life?
2. Read verse 2. There are two main commands in this verse; one is negative and one is positive. What are these commands? What does “conformed” mean? How does the world conform us? What does transform mean? According to this verse, how are Christian’s transformed? Who transforms us? What is the Christian’s role in the transformation process? What happens when one is transformed?
3. Read James 1:27. This verse is frequently read as an encouragement to care for orphans and widows, but what is the third item listed as a descriptor for “pure and undefiled” religion? What does it mean to be “unstained from the world”? How does the world stain us as Christians? How do we keep from being stained?
4. So what? How would you describe your lifestyle? How does your lifestyle conform to the world? How has your life been transformed by Jesus Christ? In what area of your life could you grow in living a life that is holy and acceptable to God?