Romans 12-16

In Romans 12-16, Paul describes the practical outworking of the gospel that he presents in the prior sections. Throughout his letter, Paul explains that Christ gave himself as a sacrifice, and this gracious life giving gift should be the stimulus for sacrificial living by Christians. Paul explains to his readers that the sacrificial giving of themselves in service and commitment to God is the proper and logical response to Christ’s divine act of grace (12:1-2). This service and commitment to God can take various forms, and everyone has been given a gift, a role and a function to perform in the community of faith. Paul adds that the exercising of such gifts, roles and functions should be permeated by love, humility, empathy and hospitality, and Christians should live in harmony with one another (12:3-16). Such a focus should also extend to the wider world including enemies, the government and neighbors outside the Christian community (12:17-13:10).

Moreover, Paul points out the eschatological basis for such service and commitment to God. Christians should recognize that the final hopeful “day of salvation is already casting the rays of its light on our path, and our lives must reflect that light.”[1] Christians should walk in the light of the new day, living soberly and expectantly while putting behind them past deeds of darkness (13:11-14).

Next, Paul uses Christ-like service principles to address a divisive issue in the church at Rome: the observance of certain dietary codes and rituals. Paul exhorts his readers to follow the example of Christ who did not insist on his own rights. Thus, they were to live in sacrificial harmony and tolerance with one another despite their differences of opinion on the issue (14:1-15:13).

Paul concludes his letter to the Romans by giving more information about his situation and travel plans (15:14-29), by requesting prayer concerning his Jerusalem ministry (15:30-33), by commending a sister in Christ along with other greetings (16:1-16), by giving a final warning about false teachers and by giving personal notes and a benediction (16:17- 27).

[1] D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris. An Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 240.  

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