Romans 12:1-2 exhort us to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices, to not be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, thereby proving what the will of God is. If I stop there in my reading and my thinking where have I gone? In terms of the context of the verses I’ve come to a dead end, I’ve read something but I am now, by my compartmentalization, left to myself in terms of obedience.
But what happens if I continue to read and think about what I’m reading? In verse 3 I’m told not to think more highly of myself than I ought to think – might that just possibly be tied to the renewing of the mind?
In verses 4 – 8 I’m taught that I’m part of a body of people in Christ and that this body is to function in Christ according to the grace given to each member.
Verse 9: Love is to be without hypocrisy, we are to abhor evil and cling to what is good. Can we see this as obedient response to verses 1 – 2?
Verse 10: We are to be devoted to one another in familial love, giving preference to one another in honor – can we see this as obedient response to verses 1 – 2? Can we see that failure to obey the commands of verse 10 is failure to obey verses 1 – 2?
Verses 14 – 21: We are to bless and not curse those who persecute us, to associate with the lowly, and not be wise in our own estimation. We are not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. Might this possibly be the incarnation of verses 1 – 2?
In other words, I can quote Romans 12:1-2 everyday, I can read it on a cute little verse card every hour, I can have it rolling across my computer screen as a screen saver and have it perpetually before my eyes – but what does Romans 12:1-2 look like? It looks like Romans 12:3-21.
As with the Mary and Martha passage of Luke Chapter 10, I can interject my thoughts into Romans 12:1-2. As with Luke 10:38 – 42 I can mitigate Romans 12:1-2 with my own thoughts and definitions, I can superimpose my morality and ethics and maybe even political ideals; or I can move into verses 3 – 21 and submit myself to what the Biblical text portrays as the incarnation of verses 1-2.
I had never read Romans Chapter 12 prior to this past week.