Yesterday we looked at how believers in Jesus Christ have been set apart for the gospel, literally chosen specifically for the sake of God’s good news. Today I want to take another look at what it means to be living out that gospel, how it looks in the daily life of a Christian, specifically from the book of Romans.
So, how do we live in order for people around us to know what our purpose is? How do we show by our lifestyles that we are chosen by God and for God? Obviously the short answer is by living righteously. But what is longer answer of how to practically live that way? What are some specific actions or attitudes we need to put on as Christians?
To use Paul’s language in Romans 12:1-2, how exactly are we to “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice“? What does it look like to be “transformed by the renewal of [our] mind[s]” rather than being “conformed to this world“? Let’s look at the rest of the chapter. We see listed for us some very practical ways by which we must live out the gospel. Grouping them into categories provides an even sharper image of what it looks like to be set apart by God:
Living in Humility:
1. Stop thinking of ourselves as greater than we really are, and start consider ourselves with humility and sober judgment [12:3]
2. Always put others first, honoring them with genuine love and humility [12:10]
3. Help other believers in whatever ways we can, being generous and considerate, always welcoming them into our hearts and our homes [12:13]
4. Practice impartiality among your fellow Christians [12:16]
5. Remember that no thing and no one is beneath you [12:16]
6. View others through God’s eyes rather than your own [12:16]
7. Always seek to honor others, even when they wrong you [12:17]
8. Don’t stir up needless trouble, don’t argue for argument’s sake, don’t contribute to conflict among Christians; seek peace as much as possible, according to God’s standards of living and His command for humility [12:18]
1. Have genuine, selfless love for one another [12:9]
2. Love fellow Christians with a familial love, not because of any merit or attraction they may have, but because we have the same Father, same heritage, and same eternal home [12:10]
3. Be empathetic and sensitive to one another’s trials and joys, this is also a way of putting them first with genuine love [12:15]
1. Hate, literally turn away and flee from, whatever is not in total accordance with God’s holiness [12:9]
2. Cling to, with everything you have, whatever is considered by God to be right and holy [12:9]
3. Always follow what is considered good according to God’s perfect Word [12:21]
1. Use the gifts and abilities that God has given us, rather than keeping them to ourselves [12:6-8]
2. Serve God – not self, not the world, not another man’s opinion or desires [12:11]
Responding to Evil:
1. Patiently wait for God to condemn the wicked, rest in His timing [12:12]
2. Treat those who persecute you as if they were your friends, love them and return blessings upon them [12:14]
3. Be patient, leave retribution in God’s hands, remember that He will avenge the blood of His saints and His righteousness will ultimately win [12:19]
4. Go out of your way to show God’s love to your enemies [12:20]
Having a Proper Focus:
1. Reject laziness and indifference about living the gospel; rather, have intense passion and enthusiasm for following Christ [12:11]
2. Hold fast to the hope of eternal life with God, and rejoice in it [12:12]
3. Be always in a spirit of prayer, pray about all things at all times [12:12]
I find it interesting that the “humility” category has the most commands. Perhaps it is what we most often neglect? Perhaps it is the most difficult thing for a depraved creature to understand and follow after, the most foreign to our sinful nature. Whatever the reason, it shows that humility is a crucial part of the gospel of God. So is genuine love, righteous living, service, a right response to evil, and a heart full of passion for Christ and prayer to God.
This is what the gospel looks like. This is what our lives should look like, if we have been set apart to the gospel. This is how others can know the power of God and His righteousness, as we live these things before other Christians and the world at large.