Continuation of the study on Romans 12.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
In view of everything the Lord has done for us, the only proper response is to worship and the very essence of it is to give Him glory. He has called us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing to God — which is our reasonable act of worship. A sacrifice acceptable to Him because it is offered according to His terms; otherwise it ceases to be a form of worship.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, He has given us a new nature. He commands us not to be like the world; not to act, think, speak, behave like the world; not to value and pursue its empty ways; not let ourselves be deceived by its beliefs. Instead, we ought to submit ourselves to God and allow Him to transform us in the likeness of His character, holy and pleasing to Him, distinct from the world, set apart to be used for His purpose. We let our minds be renewed by soaking ourselves in God’s Word. Then we will learn to know His will for us — His good, pleasing and perfect will.
When we became a believer in Christ we have become part of His Body. Just as the different parts of our body has different functions, the same is true with the Church. Jesus is the Head and the Church is His Body. In his grace, He has given each of us different gifts, according to the measure of faith God has allotted us, to enable us to serve our specific and unique functions in the Body of Christ.
Just like our fingerprints, no two gifts are alike. No two people can serve exactly the same way. A hand cannot do the function of other body parts, nor can the left hand serve as a right hand. A body cannot also be all eyes, there has to be different parts. Knowing this will help us understand that we need each other. We form parts of one Body and we all belong to one another. We perform our functions thereby serving the Body to edify and strengthen one another until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
To serve our purpose in the Body the way that is acceptable to God, we ought to have a right notion of ourselves. This brings us back to who we are in the Lord. We serve with a heart of offering ourselves to the Lord as living, holy sacrifice pleasing to Him to bring Him glory. Therefore the proper attitude of service is humility before a holy God. It should not be done with an attitude of pride, arrogance, or vain conceit. Neither should we have an attitude of self-abasement or self-deprecation and choose not to serve at all. These two examples are focused on self, on one’s own strength and capability or the lack of it. To quote what John MacArthur said in his sermon, “Humility is not obviously overestimation, nor is it underestimation, it is right estimation.”
Paul exhorts us to think of ourselves with sober mind. We ought to have an attitude of God-confidence knowing that the Lord has given each of us different gifts for the purpose of using every part to edify the Body, to meet the needs of others according to what the Lord has called us to do. A capability not our own but only by the grace of God and we are confident in the Lord that He will use us and maximize our God-given potentials for His glory. So we have nothing to boast or be afraid of because the gift is from God, the power to use it is also from Him and the fruit is His work. Unworthy as we are, He has given us the privilege and joy to be used according to how He purposed us to be and to witness His glory as we serve Him.
It is good to remember that when we serve, our heart’s desire should be to offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, to be faithful stewards of what God entrusted us and has specifically purposed us to do, and to imitate God’s character and follow Jesus’ example of service. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45)
This study is divided into parts:
Acceptable Worship: An Offering Prescribed by God (Romans 12:1-2)
Acceptable Worship: Selfless Service (Romans 12:3-8)
Acceptable Worship: A Love That Conforms to God’s Character (Romans 12:9-10)