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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #29 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 1

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.

I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s begin our multipart study with verses 1-2.

As we go through these 24 imperatives, you will notice that I’m including some of my notes & observations in the passage. I’m all for actively reading Scripture, marking up your Bible, bolding and highlighting and underlining what you notice.

The first critical imperative that I see is —

1. The believer is to OFFER HIS BODY AS A LIVING SACRIFICE! (v. 1).

Now, I know very little about the whole sacrificial system. I’m glad I don’t live in a culture where the blood of goats and lambs and pigeons was required to make atonement for the people.  But the Apostle Paul uses this imagery for a Gentile audience!

God cares about our bodies — and He wants them — as living sacrifices! Notice that this sacrifice is to God “holy and pleasing.” God cares so much about our offering our bodies to Him that He calls such an act “your true and proper worship”!

May I ask you, dear friend, have you done that? Are you doing that?  Are you and I daily offering our bodies to God as living sacrifices? Someone has said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps jumping off the altar! Done any jumping lately?

Today’s challenge: Personally and privately give your physical being to the Lord, asking Him to use you today as a true and proper act of worship before a watching world.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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“Ain’t Got No Body!” (A Dozen Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 5:1-10)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses in chapter four:

“Ain’t Got No Body!” (A Dozen Thoughts on 2 Cor. 5:1-10)

1. The body we have is an earthly body (v. 1).
2. The body we have is subject to destruction (v. 1)
3. A replacement body is waiting for us in heaven (v. 1)
4. We should not be content with this earthly body, but groan and long for our heavenly dwelling (v. 2)
5. God’s plan is that we be clothed with our heavenly dwelling and not be unclothed (v. 4)
6. This heavenly dwelling shows that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life (v. 4)
7. God’s Spirit has been given us as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (v. 5)
8. While we are in this earthly body, we are away from the Lord (v. 6)
9. This situation — being “away from the Lord” — gives us the opportunity to live by faith and not by sight (v. 7)
10. Our preference should be to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (v. 8)
11. In either case, we should make it our goal to please Him (v. 9)
12. What we do in this body matters. We will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the things — good or bad — we did in the body (v. 10)

Today’s Challenge: What are you doing with your earthly body? Ignoring it? Abusing it? Worshiping it? Recognize that there is a much better body waiting for you in heaven, but use the body you’ve got now to serve Him!

 

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 5

 

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Are you wasting away? Join the club!

FirefoxScreenSnapz262FirefoxScreenSnapz263Within one week I have developed three problems with my right leg. FirefoxScreenSnapz261 I have a weak hamstring, the beginnings of plantar fasciitus, and a serious case of athlete’s foot!  Really.  My whole right side is a mess.  This on top of occasional stabbing pain from arthritus on the top of my right foot.

I played a tennis match last night and during the very first point of the match I felt my right hamstring tweak a bit.  I prayed that I could make it through the match (that hamstring made me FirefoxScreenSnapz264retire in a match months before.  It was followed by weeks of physical therapy), and I did.  So I spent some of today looking up exercises for a weak hamstring (’cause I have a weak mind and had forgotten the exercises I spent over $500 to learn months before).

I like being active.  I like playing tennis with guys 20-30 years younger than me.  My body disagrees with my likes.  I can hear the conversation my hamstring had with my foot yesterday:

Hamstring:  “Hey.  Foot.  Let’s show this old guy who’s in charge!”
Foot:  “What do you mean, Hammie?”

Hamstring:  “I mean he’s always acting like he’s 30 and he’s over TWICE that!  FirefoxScreenSnapz265Tell you what:  I’ll tweak him just a bit to scare him some and you can do, well, whatever it is that you do!”

Foot:  “Deal!  Maybe we can convince him to buy a rocking chair!”

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

There’s a lot in this passage that I don’t understand.  How do you not lose heart when body parts are conspiring and physical therapists are plotting to separate me from my money?  I don’t understand why we have to “waste away.”  I don’t understand why it is I ache where I didn’t even know there were places which could get sore, or pop, or get strained.

But I do understand a few things:  (1)  This world is fallen and broken and in pain (like my body parts).  I should expect some effects of the Fall in Genesis 3 in my own life (thanks, Adam & Eve).  (2) This world is not the only FirefoxScreenSnapz266one that is.  There will come a new world and I will get a brand-new resurrection body without plantar fasciitus or athlete’s foot or weak hamstrings.  So I need to think a bit more about that new world that’s a-comin’.  (3) I need to focus more on allowing my inner man to be renewed!  This is not to say that our bodies are the prisonhouse of our souls or that we shouldn’t exercise or take care of ourselves.  It is the simple truth that we are more than our bodies, more than our athletic abilities, more than our energy and stamina can produce.  And lastly, (4) I must take a comparative view and somehow recognize that the issue really is between “light and momentary troubles” versus “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  Meanwhile, I’ve just got one question for you:  Got any Ben Gay?

Questions:

1.  What physical exercises do you regularly do?

2.  What spiritual disciplines do you regularly practice?

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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