The Thirtieth in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Epistle to the Romans
In Romans 12 we come to the so-called “practical” section of the Book of Romans. At the end of his famous epistle, Paul now addresses some of the specific issues facing the Christians in Rome. But he does so only in the light of the many important theological themes he has developed in the first eleven chapters of this book. In fact, we can’t understand the so-called “practical section” of Romans properly if we don’t see this section as the direct application in daily life of those specific theological points Paul has already made, especially the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have already been reckoned righteous before God.
Growing up in fundamentalism, I rarely recall hearing a sermon on the first eleven chapters of Romans, although we frequently heard sermons from chapters 12-15. And I suspect that there will be some of you reading this series who are glad to finally get to the useful stuff–the practical section of Romans. While there is much here that is very practical and quite beneficial for us in our daily lives, let us keep in mind that everything that Paul tells us in this section is the application of those doctrines he has set forth in the previous chapters. The reason why so many of us find Reformation theology so liberating is precisely because it puts practical Christian living in its proper perspective–the Christian life is the working out in our everyday lives the righteous status that God freely gives to all of those who by faith, trust in Jesus Christ, and not in their own good works.
One writer has identified the theme of this section of Romans–as “God’s righteousness in everyday life.” Another points out that this section of Romans summarizes what “the Christian’s response to God’s grace should be.” Paul’s understanding of the Christian life is clearly expressed in terms of living out our justification as we observed in Romans 6:11: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 12-15, Paul will discuss how putting the flesh to death and rising to newness of life as mentioned in Romans 6, is made manifest in lives of those whom God has justified through faith alone. Recall that in Romans 7:6, Paul spoke of the Christian life as “life in the Spirit.” Well, in Romans 12-15, Paul describes what life in the Spirit looks like as it is worked out in daily life.
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