The way we behave – with believers and unbelievers alike – is a very important expression of the change that has taken, or is taking, place inside us. For the things we say and do are outside indicators of our inner state of mind. We have to try to live a transformed life, as though we had stopped living for ourselves and are now living entirely for others as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what Paul means by living sacrificially – putting the needs and feelings of others before our own.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that we are commanded to do this as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, because that is how he lived. In a masterful understatement, Paul says this:
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself” (Romans 15:1-3).
Jesus set the standard and we have to do the best we can to follow his example. We will not achieve the same level of obedience, of course, for the Lord was perfect in everything he did. He never once sinned. But we have to try hard to follow his lead. Just what that means in practice is explained here (in Romans chapters 12-15), and by the Lord Jesus himself in the long talk he gave to his disciples, recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7, sometimes called the Sermon on the Mount. Paul’s encouragement to the believers at Rome is closely modelled on what Jesus taught. For example, he says that we should not retaliate when people do unfair or unreasonable things to us, but should suffer wrong for Christ’s sake:
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. ’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. ’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).
In these verses Paul gives us the second reason why we should try to live just as Jesus did. We need to live in a way that encourages other people to want to know about Jesus, so that they too can believe the gospel and be saved. The greatest good we can do to anyone is to share with them the faith that saves from eternal death. This is why Paul wrote the Letter to the Romans, so that they too would know what he believed and benefit from that knowledge. His gift to us, centuries later, is priceless; for without this knowledge we could not obtain eternal life. Now it becomes our responsibility to share that faith with others – and how we live is a vital part of that sharing.
- Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
- Words to push and pull
- A vital question for believers
- He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
- Christ entered our world to transform our lives
- Shaped by our thoughts so be careful for influencers
- Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships
- New Covenant Possesses
- Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries
- Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah
- Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:21-26 – 1. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:13
- Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14
- Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3
- Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24
- Matthew 5:43-47 – 6. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18
- Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love
- Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love
- Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love
- Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love
- Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love
- Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love
- Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment
- Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction
- Matthew 7:15-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #2 False prophets and fruitage
- Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #3 Matthew 7:21-23 The ones Jesus never knew
- Matthew 7:13-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #4 Matthew 7:24-27 – Conclusion
- Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction
- Matthew 8:18-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Would-be Followers
- Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd
- Matthew 10:40-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Reception and Reward
- Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole
- Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation
- Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts
- Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”
- The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave
- An atoneless religious system or a hope giving religious system
- Rebirth and belonging to a church
- When having taken a new direction in life, having become a Christian
- How to set your mind
- Altitude begins with an attitude of gratitude
- Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ
- Laboring in the Vineyard or Sitting on the Hillside with Jonah?
- Being in tune with God
- Ambassadors showing hope and a world of peace
- Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
- Not withholding the Good News
- Scriptures and Thoughts about: Proclaim
- Go Ye!
- Proclaiming: a task given to Christians
- To proclaim the day of vengeance
- Preaching as Public Speaking