The beauty of taking our time in Romans is how we can see the big picture with the benefit of small powerful pieces – each piece fits perfectly.
There is no coincidence that we’ve moved from the doxology at the end of Chapter 11 and the call to consecration in verses 1 and 2 in Romans 12.
Now it fits perfectly as we learn about the “gifted body of Christ.”
For by the grace given me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. (Romans 12:3)
What we do is first created in our mind and what is in our mind comes from the heart. A truly yielded heart beats in harmony with the Lord.
Into the heart, God measures to each one a treasured measure of faith. Even our faith does not originate from self. Self is two “self-centered”, but those who are dead to self and alive in Christ are not. They are faithful and Christ-centered.
If we didn’t need such faith, then the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have given us as much as we need and as much as we need daily. By faith, we know God and know Him intimately. By faith, the unseen is seen inner soul. By faith, we live “with God” at home, in the workplace, marketplace, and church.
An exaggerated opinion of ourselves is harmful to our soul and to the church we attend. We need to be honest with God, others, and even ourself. We should rate our ability with sober judgment and a clear mind. Self confidence has no place in the body of Christ.
The fog of self-centeredness blinds us to the presence of the Holy.
Note this warning is given to us after it has encouraged us to be living sacrifices: holy and pleasing to God. Now with our reasonable, rational, intelligent, and devoted self, we can approach God in pure faith.
Faith, measured in treasured amounts, helps us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world or adapt ourselves to the local culture. We are not soldiers of the culture war, no matter what others may think. We carry the fragrance of Christ.
The culture war is warring against our soul, but no weapon formed against us will prosper. A yielded soul is protected – guarded and safe. Truly, the peace of God shields your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Now with the right mindset and measured faith with which we can move in harmony with God’s will. We are a healthy and useful as part of God’s church devoted to Him.
If the Holy Spirit gifts us for the good and building up of the Body, then we do so with a faithful heart and a sober mind. In this way we give ourselves in total service to the Lord: teachers teach, prophets prophecy, exhorters encourage, givers give generals and the merciful brings mercy.
This present evil age still threatens us but we do not belong to ourselves – we belong to God. Our lives are changed and so are our minds. The indwelling Holy Spirit made them new.
With our minds, we can discern God’s will. With His guiding hand, truthful counsel, and in measured faith, we can be who God wants us to be – in Him.
The Lord our God is with us.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy be being of the same mind, have the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also the interests of other. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. Phil 2:1-5
Now, granted, this would have been the perfect place to stop, clap our hands together and say, “Finished!”. But there are more mysteries to uncover in these verses.
What does is mean by “gifted body of Christ”?
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…(Romans 12:4-6a)
Father God, in the power of His Spirit, measures our faith in the abundance of His grace. With this we are set in place, established there, given a purpose for such a time as this.
We see this truth clearly in Acts 17, when Paul preached to the Athenians about who God is and why we exist in this generation within these boundaries.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being…(Acts 17:24-28a)
God has established the time you live in, the place, and your purpose in life. Trust Him as you relinquish all rights to self and rightfully take your place in the body of Christ.
Remember Romans 12:1-2? Daily, we should present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. When we are conformed to His will, we join the body of Christ faithfully equipped for His good purposes.
We, as accepted children of God, are united in the one body of Christ unseen universally, but seen locally. No one in this body is more important that another, but each function in the gifts given for the purpose, good, and unity of the church.
God is the giver of gifts and the degree to which we possess them. So, we should take care to examine ourselves, use the gifts given, and continue to walk in the Spirit.
Some speak for God: prophesy, teach, and exhort. Some perform acts of service and giving. Others govern (lead) and still others perform acts of mercy.
All is done in love!
All gifts of the Spirit operate under the shadow of love: no love, then not spiritual gift.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good – love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.(Romans 12:9-10)
So, in conclusion, let us put this altogether. The church is the body of Christ universal. We are a part of the church – an important part fitted together, equipped, and gifted as long as we continue as living sacrifices, wholly and pleasing to God.
This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus!
Although many in body, we are united in Christ. So, with one voice, let us continue to magnify Him in our place, time, and spiritual gifts given.
Remember, we mutually depend on each other and it is a wonderful thing indeed.
For by the grace (of God) given to me, I say to everyone of you, not to think more highly of himself (and of his importance and ability) that he might to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith (and a purpose designed for service).Romans 12:3 (amplified)