2018-08-15 / Religion

God transforms us from within

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Romans 12

When God created the human race, Adam and Eve were perfect. There was no flaw in their make-up. However, these individuals were equipped with a “will.” This attribute allowed each one to make choices. At the time of the temptation, they, both of them, made the choice to yield. When this event took place, their nature was changed. It is obvious that they did not, physically, die. However, they lost their God-like nature, which was, then, replaced with a sinnature. This change was passed to all of the descendants of our first parents.

This sin-nature began to dominate these people. Even though they were aware of the need of some kind of a Savior, they were only informed regarding the offering of a sacrifice. This fact provided this couple with covering for their recognized nakedness. Genesis 3:21. This overing for the body did not provide any change in this sin-nature that would now control them and all of their offspring.

The Old Testament order provided a system of sacrifices that would allow sins to be “forgiven,” but did not, in any way, change the sinnature. This change would only come when the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, would die as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29, 19:30.

The sin-nature remains in control of each life until the individual, personally, accepts the divine provision. Our Lord told “the ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1) Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God ... Ye must be born again.” John 3:3b, 7b. This “new birth” allows the sin-nature to become ineffective as the controlling factor in the life of a believer. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “Therefore if any man (one) be in (Note: location) Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17; see Romans 6:4-6. This change should be obvious to those who come in contact with the bornagain individual.

The continual process of life-change in the believer is known as “sanctification,” set apart for sacred use. No person has the ability to bring about this change by human effort. This condition is provided, when one allows the born-again experience to come into his or her earthly life. In another letter, Paul told the Corinthians, “But of him (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. On the personal level, this sanctification process is “progressive.” Simon Peter wrote, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18a.

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome, he, too, addressed the thought of “how do we live our daily lives?” He wanted these believers to remember the inner change that had already taken place. These faithful ones were reminded, “And be not conformed (i.e., fit the mold of) this world (order; system): but be ye transformed (changed from within) by the renewing of your mind...” Romans 12:10, 11.

These believers were not totally accepted by the hierarchy of the Roman world. However, these people knew that their hope was not in the government and what this entity could provide. Paul reminded them of their expectation and their continued “Rejoicing in hope; (being) patient in tribulation (pressure); continuing in prayer.” Romans 12:12. One can become so involved in “doing” that prayer becomes, at best, a secondary activity. Benevolent activity is the “result” of our “salvation experience,” not the curse.” Paul wrote of this activity, “Distributing to the necessity of “the saints” and, then, to outsiders.

Since these believers were living under difficult conditions, there needed to be an “attitude inventory,” “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” Romans 12:14. The thought of empathy is expressed, “Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15.

Even though Paul did not personally know many members of that congregation, he made an appeal to their personal compassion. “Be of the same mind, one toward another, Mind not high things, but condescend (be led along) to men of low estate (i.e., the lowly; humble.” Romans 12:16a, b. He warned, “Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense (to give back) to no man (one) evil for evil. Provide things honest (fair; right) in the sight of all men (humans).” Romans 12:16c; 17.

Some situations reach beyond our personal scope of control. Paul addressed these situations, as well. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (humans).” Romans 12:18. He, further, instructed, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengence is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19; See Deuteronomy 32:35.

The apostle came to a conclusion regarding this topic, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20; see Proverbs 25:21, 22. He gave a directive that should be part of the life of every believer, no matter the historical setting, “Be not overcome (dominated) with evil; but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21.

The Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, did not hear the words of our Lord, as he gave the Sermon on the Mount. However, the divine principle remains the same. Jesus said, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain (two).” Matthew 5:41. These instructions are difficult to follow, if the sin-nature is in control of our life. However, we, presently, have the Holy Spirit to help us “live out” these principles. If you have not asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior, please do so today. John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. co m

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