Saturday, October 10, 2009

The "One Anothers" of Romans 12-16

In his epistle to the church in Rome, Paul discusses in much detail (chapters 1-11) what God has done for us in salvation. Paul concludes this section with a mini-doxology in 11:36, "For of Him and through him and to him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." (NKJV)

Paul then moves into the "application" section of his letter. Basically, he is saying that since God has saved us, we should live in a certain way. He begins chapters 12-16 with a very familiar couple of verses, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Paul goes on in this letter to emphasize that one of the primary ways we present our bodies as living sacrifices is by serving one another.

In reading these five application chapters, it is interesting just how much Paul emphasizes the concept of "one another." In fact, in the NKJV the phrase "one another" appears 10 times in chapters 12-16 (after having occurred just once in chapters 1-11):

Romans 12:5, "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."

Romans 12:10, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another."

Romans 12:16, "Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion."

Romans 13:8, "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law."

Romans 14:13, "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way."

Romans 15:5, "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus."

Romans 15:7, "Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God."

Romans 15:14, "Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."

Romans 16:16, "Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you."

It is clear from Paul's writings that we do not please Christ and grow in Christ while living in a vacuum. We mature in Christ while serving others both within the church and out in the world.

If we want to grown in sanctification, we will be active in the life of the church by doing for one another. This does not mean being involved in numerous church programs. Rather, it means that we will get to know one another better by spending time together. We will challenge and exhort one another to live godly lives. We will encourage one another when we fail.

Paul is telling us in plain terms to be living sacrifices by serving others.

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