The Transforming Power of the Gospel
1Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.
2Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, # 12:2 Or “Don’t be squeezed into the mold of this present age.” Paul uses the Greek word aion which means “spaces of time” or “present time.” The Aramaic word carries the same idea but it is much deeper in meaning. The Aramaic word is ‘alma, which means “to surround” like being surrounded in time. Paul is warning us not to be conformed to this world surrounded by time, this temporal world coming to an end. We are not to be squeezed into the mold of this world system that is falling apart. but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.
Your Proper Role in the Body of Christ
3God has given me grace to speak a warning about pride. I would ask each of you to be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance. Instead, honestly assess your worth by using your God-given faith as the standard of measurement, and then you will see your true value with an appropriate self-esteem.
4In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. 5And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.
6God’s marvelous grace imparts to each one of us varying gifts. So if God has given you the grace-gift of prophecy, activate your gift by using the proportion of faith you have to prophesy. 7If your grace-gift is serving, then thrive in serving others well. If you have the grace-gift of teaching, then be actively teaching and training others. 8If you have the grace-gift of encouragement, # 12:8 Or “exhortation.” This is the Greek word parakaleo, which means “to be alongside of someone to comfort, encourage, console, strengthen, exhort, and stir up faith.” then use it often to encourage others. If you have the grace-gift of giving to meet the needs of others, then may you prosper in your generosity without any fanfare. If you have the gift of leadership, be passionate about your leadership. And if you have the gift of showing compassion, # 12:8 Or “if you are a caregiver.” then flourish in your cheerful # 12:8 The Greek word hilarotes is used only here in the New Testament and can be translated “cheerful” or “hilarious.” display of compassion.
9Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.
10Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.
11Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.
12Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, # 12:12 The Aramaic can be translated “Bear your afflictions bravely.” but commune with God at all times.
13Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them. And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home.
14Speak blessing, not cursing, over those who reject and persecute you.
15Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. 16Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own. Don’t live with a lofty mind-set, thinking you are too important to serve others, but be willing to do menial tasks and identify with those who are humble minded. # 12:16 Since the Greek text is ambiguous and can mean either “be willing to do menial tasks” or “associate with the lowly,” this translation incorporates both. The Berkeley Translation renders this “adjust yourselves to humble situations.” Don’t be smug or even think for a moment that you know it all.
17Never hold a grudge or try to get even, but plan your life around the noblest way to benefit others. 18Do your best to live as everybody’s friend. # 12:18 Or “to live at peace with all people.”
19Beloved, don’t be obsessed with taking revenge, but leave that to God’s righteous justice. # 12:19 Or “wrath.” For the Scriptures say:
“Vengeance is mine, and I will repay,” says the Lord. # 12:19 See Deut. 32:35.
If your enemy is hungry, buy him lunch!
Win him over with kindness. # 12:20 Or “If he thirsts, give him a drink.”
For your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience,
and God will reward you with favor. # 12:20 Or “You will heap coals of fire on his head,” an obvious figure of speech. It means that by demonstrating kindness to him, his heart will be moved and his shame exposed. See Prov. 25:21–22.
21Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good. # 12:21 Or “Don’t be conquered by the evil one, but conquer evil through union with the good One.”