Man’s Responsibility Toward God
Key Verses: Rom 12:1-13
I. God’s Sovereignty Does Not Absolve Man of His Personal Responsibility
A. One truth clearly taught in Scripture is that God is sovereign in His thoughts, plans, and executions. This was elaborated by Paul in Rom 9-11, especially as he deals with God’s relationship with Israel and the Gentiles. In His sovereignty it is impossible for God to be unjust toward anyone.
B. A second related and parallel truth is that man is responsible for all that God has given him, as shown in the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-27) and the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30). It is true that God by His grace affects a work of regeneration in us (1 Peter 1:3; Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:18). But as a new creature in Christ, a believer becomes personally responsible for his actions and the impression that he makes on the world around him. In other words, the believer must make his own decisions and be held accountable for them. In Rom 12, Paul stresses that the believer’s main responsibility is to live a holy life.
II. We Must Consecrate Our Bodies to Christ
A. When we become Christians, we must recognize that we do not automatically get rid of our corruptible, mortal bodies (Rom 6:12; 1 Cor 15:53,54; 2 Cor 4:11; 5:4); this transformation will not occur until the final resurrection (Rom 8:23).
B. It is the indwelling Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Christ (Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20) who gives us the power to voluntarily refrain from sin (Rom 6:14). And, thus, only as a Christian am I in a position to present my body unto the Lord instead of unto sin.
1. This act of consecration discussed in Rom 12:1 takes two forms. This indicates one’s act of surrender of the body. A daily, moment by moment denial of our body to be used for unrighteousness can only be achieved by this once-and-for-all presentation of us unto God as being alive from the dead. In the phrase “now yield your members servants to righteousness . . .” (Rom 6:19 indicates a once-and-for-all presentation or voluntary crucifixion with Christ (Gal 2:20).
2. The second form this consecration of our bodies takes after our initial dedication to Christ is called “a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). The participial meaning of “living” means something that is the result of our present will and which is done constantly without ever becoming dead or losing its vibrancy. A “sacrifice” is something that we give up in order to please God. Such a sacrifice does not mean the privation of the legitimate needs of our body within the realm of prescribed Christian conduct. This unselfish yielding must not only be living, conscious and constant, but also holy, separated from sin and attached to God. It must also be well-pleasing or acceptable unto God and it must have a calculated or reasoned-out purpose and public usefulness. That is what “service,” is. Our sacrifice must also be ”reasonable, logical, well-planned and calculated.” God will not accept as service that which has selfish motives and neglects our duty toward our family and society.
III. We Must Be Non-Conformists
A. “And be not conformed to this world or age . . .” (Rom 12:2). We must remain apart from the world because this age does not have the mind of Christ. We should not dress or behave as the people of our age if they do not conform to God’s standard. The verb is in the present imperative indicating that we should constantly refuse to conform to the age.
B. “. . . but ye be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .” (Rom 12:2). Paul is denoting change of condition, and “to form.” It refers to the inner disposition of the heart versus “the outward”. When we bring about an inner change of mind, there will be a difference in the way we behave outwardly.
Walk towards this perfection and you will see God’s hand upon your Life!