Loving one another, however, involves practical action. The book of James says, "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?" (James 2:14-16)
This week's reading takes us to the very altar of God, exhorting us to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God What does this mean? Fortunately, Paul doesn't leave us hanging there, but proceeds to expound upon this idea by addressing our relationships with each other, our attitudes and motivations, and the unique callings and giftings that God has entrusted to each of us.
In 1 Peter 4:10, Jesus' disciple Peter writes, "God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another."
Describe the gifts that you believe God has graciously given you that are or can be an asset to your community of faith. Don't be shy about sharing the wonderful ways God has gifted you.
- Read Romans 12:1-21. What does it mean to be "living sacrifices" (v.1)?
- Why does Paul emphasize the mind in verse 2?
- How do Paul's words in verses 3-5 help Christians be more unified in one body?
- In verses 6-13, how does Paul suggest that the gifts he mentions are not just ways in which we are carried away by supernatural power but that they also involve plain hard work?
- How, according to Paul, might our attitude make a big difference as we express our gifts?
- What do you find particularly challenging in verses 6-13?
- How is Christ himself a living example of living out what Paul calls for in verses 14-21?
- The early part of Romans 12 (vv. 1-13) deals with what we might call the inner life of the church. This last section (vv. 14-21) is about how Christians behave within the wider public world. How would the wider world respond to seeing the church live out what's described in 14-21?
- In what specific ways can you be a "living sacrifice" to those around you right now?
From this point out, the book of Romans speaks primarily to this theme. We are nearing the end of this study, but the practical applications of it will forever impact how we live in this world as a community of believers, and as individual followers of Jesus Christ.
I'm thankful to be sharing the journey with you!
Love in Christ,
Disclaimer: These questions have been drawn from N.T. Wright’s study guide on the book of Romans, and are posted here to provide a general sample of the in-depth study each chapter entails. Though the study guide is not required for participation in our weekly study, it is an excellent resource for advanced study of God’s word.