Romans Chapter Twelve

Set Apart Or Playing A Part?

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In our study of Romans chapter twelve, we will look at how we can tell the difference between someone who is set apart for God's use (consecrated) and someone who is pretending (hypocrite).

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Romans 12:1

I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical "Temple worship" for you.

Whenever we see "therefore" in Paul's writings, we need to pause and see what it is there for. In this case, it refers back to chapter 11 and the fact that both Jew and Gentile can be saved by the grace of God through Yeshua Messiah. Now, he says that, because we are saved, our duty is to offer our bodies to the service of God. He also says that this is our "spiritual act of worship" and that should make us pause again to take notice. There are many today who act like they are superior spiritually in worship by babbling in tongues or other things. They will put on a big show of worship but, once they leave the service, they will act like everyone else that is of the world. These people are commonly called hypocrites. The Greek word hypokrisis is where we get the term hypocrite and it means someone who is playing a part on a stage or putting on a mask.

Romans 12:2

In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

Paul goes on to explain that this living sacrifice is set apart (different) from the world around them. The renewing of the mind refers to the fact that, when we come to Yeshua, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit which counsels us concerning the things of God. We see that the reason we present this sacrifice is so that we can understand what the will of God is for our lives. Someone who is set apart (consecrated) will be in tune with God and will be guided by him. Someone who is playing a part (hypocrite) will constantly be searching for the meaning and purpose for their daily lives. They will chase after the latest and greatest theory or possession and never be content.

Romans 12:3

For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust.

Those who are set apart will be humble while those who are playing a part will want everyone to see and know how religious they are. Paul tells us that we should each judge ourselves and our relationship with God to see where we are truly at in our lives. We are told to do this based on the faith that God has given us which means we are to compare our walk with what Yeshua Messiah has for us (the best) instead of comparing ourselves to other people. Those who are set apart will always look at themselves in light of how God sees them while those who are playing a part will look at themselves based on the amount of praise and applause that they are receiving from people around them.

Romans 12:4 & 5

For just as there are many parts that compose one body, but the parts don't all have the same function; so there are many of us, and in union with the Messiah we comprise one body, with each of us belonging to the others.

Part of this humility is realizing our role in the greater body which is the kingdom of heaven. Paul compares the church to a physical body and we know that the human body acts as a unit. In the same manner, someone who is set apart for God's use will work with the body of Yeshua Messiah.

Romans 12:6-8

But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, use it to the extent of your trust; if it is serving, use it to serve; if you are a teacher, use your gift in teaching; if you are a counselor, use your gift to comfort and exhort; if you are someone who gives, do it simply and generously; if you are in a position of leadership, lead with diligence and zeal; if you are one who does acts of mercy, do them cheerfully.

God gives each of us abilities that are designed to fit into the local body of Christ. When they all come together, then, the local body of believers function as designed. Each person must use the gift that they have and they complement each other to glorify God.

Romans 12:9 & 10

Don't let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good. Love each other devotedly and with brotherly love; and set examples for each other in showing respect.

Someone who is set apart demonstrates the love of God to his fellow man. Those that are playing a part can pretend to love but only for a short time while those that are set apart will have a consistent pattern of demonstrating love. Those that are set apart will hate evil and not want to associate with evil activities while the pretender will be comfortable going along with whatever is popular. The humble (set apart) will think of others before self while those who are playing a part will always be out to see what they can get for themselves.

Romans 12:11 & 12

Don't be lazy when hard work is needed, but serve the Lord with spiritual fervor. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your troubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer.

We are to remember the passion that we had for Christ when we first came to him. His love for us caused us to want to serve him and to grow closer to him. It is this love and remembrance of what he has done for us that will give us the strength and desire to serve him. This love will cause us to get active in our faith on a consistent basis instead of just doing a little "service" every now and then.

Romans 12:13

Share what you have with God's people, and practice hospitality.

This love and desire to serve Yeshua will be displayed by serving fellow Christians as well as others that are in need. The phrase "practice hospitality" is talking about the fact that we are called to serve complete strangers as well as the brothers and sisters that we know.

Romans 12:14

Bless those who persecute you - bless them, don't curse them!

This love will also be shared with those who hate us and treat us badly. The actual word for bless means roughly "no worry" and it means that those who treat us badly do not have to worry about how we will react because we will always react with love from Yeshua.

Romans 12:15 & 16

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be sensitive to each other's needs - don't think yourselves better than others, but make humble people your friends. Don't be conceited.

This love is demonstrated in our display of compassion for those around us. This is where we put ourselves in their shoes and it causes us to take action on their behalf. This love causes us to look at all others as if they were above us because that is what Yeshua did for all of us. This happens in those that are set apart when our minds are changed to be like the mind of Messiah (see Philippians 2). Those that are playing a part still have their old way of thinking.

Romans 12:17-19

Repay no one evil for evil, but try to do what everyone regards as good. If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people. Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God's anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, "ADONAI says, 'Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.'"

The person who is set apart has the peace of God in them and that peace flows out to others in their dealings with them. They do not react to the evil acts of others but instead act out of the love that is in them through the power of the Holy Spirit. They trust that God will settle all scores as necessary while those that are playing a part are quick to jump up to their own defense.

Romans 12:20 & 21

On the contrary, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For by doing this, you will heap fiery coals on his head." Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

Paul quotes the words of Solomon concerning the matter of revenge. Those that are playing a part do not have the faith to wait on the judgment of God while those that are set apart know that the judgment is coming. Those that are playing a part are quickly overcome by evil as they lash out to seek their own vengeance. Those who are set apart overcome the devil's schemes with their display of love just as Yeshua did when he died for his enemies (which we all were at that time).

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