Romans 12:1-21 God’s Fulfilling Will
Thoughts from Romans 12:1-21.
My subject for a few days will be “God’s Fulfilling Will.” All of us hear much about fulfillment in life. Most people, from all walks of life, seek to live a fulfilling life. Many others promise to help us discover and enjoy that fulfillment.
As believers in Christ, our efforts to live a fulfilling life, are very much connected to doing the will of God. We believe that when one is in God’s will, life is fulfilling.
Our text for this topic is Romans 12:1-21. Paul states his objective in verse 2. He exhorts us to so live “that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (verse 2). The NIV says so that you may “test and approve” what the will of God is.
In verses, 1-2 Paul gives us a basis for testing and approving the will of God. Then, he turns to what we must do and be to live in God’s fulfilling will. His emphasis in verses 3-8 is on the gifts of the Spirit, the charismata. Then, in verses 9-21, he stresses love and the impact it should have on lives.
My purpose for the next few days is to review this chapter and amplify Paul’s objective. We desire that we will know the will of God, do the will of God, and find fulfillment in so doing. This includes what we are and are becoming.
All of this is accomplished with the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Under the leadership of the Spirit, we live holy lives, exercise the gifts of the Spirit, and are guided in our actions by love.
More Thoughts from Romans 12:1-21.
Our topic is “God’s Fulfilling Will.” In verses 1-2 of this passage, Paul lay down the basis for a fulfilling life. He states: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable.”
It is by the “mercies of God” that we have our salvation. Our salvation is free, and we can do nothing to earn it. Paul is not bringing works in the back door. We might say that the first eleven chapters of Romans are about God’s mercies. We know that we are saved by grace and by grace alone.
However, our gratitude, our commitment, will cost us everything. This is the great paradox of our salvation. Our gratitude for what we have been freely given inspires total commitment. A full understanding of the “mercies of God” will lead us to this conclusion.
As we commit to following Christ, our minds must be renewed. It is the renewed mind that is capable of “testing and approving” the will of God. When our minds are renewed, we will find that the will of God is “good and acceptable.” The renewal happens when we come to faith, but we are constantly renewed as well. We might say repeatedly and continuously renewed.
More Thoughts from Romans 12:1-21. Our subject, based on this text, is “God’s Fulfilling Will. In my last “thoughts” we discussed the point that the basis for a fulfilling life is a spiritually renewed life. Today, we will center our thoughts on God’s will and the charismata. In 1 Corinthians 12:4 and 28, the charismata are identified as gifts of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us in our ministries.
In verse 3, Paul explains how we can “test and approve” the will of God about the charismata. Paul exhorts “everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” When we exercise spiritual gifts, we can find fulfillment through sober judgment.
When we act with sober judgment, we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Neither do we think more “lowly” than we ought to think. We need to recognize the measure of faith that God has given to each of us. Paul expands on these points in 1 Corinthians 12. We find fulfillment in doing what God has called us to do.
In verse 6 of our text, Paul says, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.” No matter what our gift, we should exercise it with confidence in God and with the passion engendered by the Holy Spirit.
More Thoughts from Romans 12:1-21.
Our topic is “God’s Fulfilling Will.” In my previous “thoughts” we observed that the renewed mind is the basis for “testing and approving” the will of God. Then, we talked about the will of God and the exercise of the charismata. We must exercise the gifts with sober judgment. When we do this, we will live in harmony with the will of God and find fulfillment.
Paul’s subject in verses 9-21 is love. His exhortation is: “Let love be without hypocrisy” or, as the NIV says, “Love must be sincere.” With the charismata, the basic rule is to exercise them with sober judgment. The basic rule for love is to be sincere. We must keep in mind that love is a fruit of the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:22). The Spirit inspires us to love others.
We can test and approve what the will of God is through the exercise of love (verse 9-21). In verses, 9-13 Paul emphasizes love for our brothers. Then, in verses 14-21 he speaks of loving those who are our enemies. This reaches beyond the body of Christ and encompasses the people around us. Sometimes, of course, we have “enemies” inside the household of faith. We must love them too.
Sometimes the expression of love and the exercise of the gifts overlap. For example, one of the gifts (verse 8) is to give with liberality. Through liberal giving, we can be a blessing to others. The underlying motivation is love for others. Through love and gifts, we discover the will of God and live a fulfilling life.
More Thoughts from Romans 12:1-21. For several days we have been talking about God’s Fulfilling Will. We know that when we live according to God’s will and purpose for our lives, we will find it fulfilling. In our text, Paul identifies some steps we can take to “test and approve” what God’s will is. We are not evaluating His will, but we can do things that will help us discover what His will is.
One, we can continually offer ourselves as living sacrifices and be renewed in our minds day-to-day. It is important to emphasize that we are a “living” sacrifice. We have an ongoing relationship with God. The Holy Spirit sustains us through constant renewal. We harmonize fully with the will of God and live a spiritually fulfilled life.
Two, we can think soberly about our gifts. We do not think more “highly” or more “lowly” about our spiritual gifts. Rather, we can relate properly to the body of Christ. We will exercise our gifts to the benefit of all. We can be highly motivated in the exercise of our gifts. Others, along with us, will live fulfilling lives.
Three, we can exercise love. The underlying motivation for what we do is love. This includes love for fellow believers and love for those who are not believers. It includes love for our friends and our enemies. Our love is not just a feeling, but also it is definite motivation in a deliberate action to be a blessing to others.
All of this is done because of the “mercies of God.” We do all of this in response to the gift of salvation. None of us deserve our salvation or our fulfilling lives. All of this is ours because of God’s grace. Let us exalt Him and live according to His will today.
George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.