Lesson 2 – The Christian

The Christian

Lesson Aim:     To show how Christians make use of our bodies and minds in order to prove God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect.

Scripture:         Rom. 12:1, 2.


This lesson will also preview some of the new thinking and behavioral activities Paul presented for Christians in these last chapters of the letter to the Roman Christians.  However, the emphasis and intent will be to help us appreciate the depth of our text.  Paul told the churches in Galatia, “What counts is a new creation.”  Gal. 6:15.  Christians must strive to re-invent ourselves day by day (II Cor. 3:17, 18).  The reinventing starts for Christians as we arise from the waters of our baptism and it must continue until we die or Jesus returns (II Cor. 5:17; Rev. 2:10).  The whole process has its roots in the text of this lesson.


The way of God is the will of God.  God’s will for man is the same as His purpose in the creation of mankind.  When people abide by His will, they are sons of God.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  John 6:38, 39

It is God’s will in our time all mature people be nothing more, or less, than Christians.  God’s will is good, rational, and perfect.  A Christian proves this when he or she “puts on the Lord Jesus Christ and makes no provisions for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”  Romans 13:14.

How do Christians prove the will of God is good, pleasing and perfect?  We do it by allowing our minds to be renewed by a study of God’s word.  As our faith strengthens in the theology, ethics and practices revealed in the word, we have the “mind of Christ.”  I Cor. 2:16.  Our personalities and characters are transformed because of our new minds.  Christians’ faith in the content of our new mind we received from our study of God’s word becomes the passion of our hearts.  Our new transformed selves are manifested in our new behavior patterns.  We offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice.  The spiritual goal of Christians is to do the will of God more perfectly. 

Before we became Christians, we had conformed to this world.  Our inner man was becoming subservient to the desires of our worldly minds and the desires of our selfish hearts.  We should never forget the devil is the ruler of this world.  To conform to this world is to conform to the will of the devil (II Cor.  4:4; I John 2:15-17).  Therefore, the goal of Christians is to attain a transformation of the combined inner and outer man (II Cor. 4:16-18).  Christians are now in the process of being transformed to our new selves, in whom God’s will is proven (Eph. 4:20-24).

      Worldly people are proving the will of the devil.  Presently, faithful Christians are proving the will of God.  It should be noted a person cannot be transformed to the world.  He or she can only conform to it.  The world is transitory, changeable and unstable.  The Greek word “suschematizo,” from which “conform” has been translated in our text, refers to a transitory situation.  There cannot be a transformation to what is unstable – merely a conformation.  This principle is demonstrated when people seek to “stay in style.”   By the time we get there, it has changed.

Transformation was translated from the Greek word “metamorphoo.”  It means to change into another form; therefore, the goal of Christians is to undergo a complete change which, under the power of God, will find expression in character and conduct.  See W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words.  Since with God there is no variation, no not even a shifting shadow, and since man was created in His image, a metamorphoo (transformation) can take place (Jas. 1:22-25).

Let us now preview some of the new thoughts from Romans, Chapters 12-16.  The minds and hearts of Christians will be asked to accept these laws of the new covenant.  We must start the renewal process of our minds and hearts before we can expect to perform spiritual acts of service through our bodies.  One area in which some renewed thinking is necessary is in the area of conceit about our own strengths and accomplishments.  The new thinking is “not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”  Romans 12:3. 

It is God’s will that He be glorified in the church.  Christians’ minds are renewed to this thought; therefore, we give up our selfish goals and function as a member of the body of Christ.  Christians know whatever we are or do is because of our faith in God’s word.  Our faith is produced by the gospel and not by our own power.  The result is a good, acceptable, and perfect situation.  It is a perfect situation in which our will has been subjugated to the will of God.  The imperfections on Christians’ part is declared right because the grace doctrines of justification and sanctification. 

Other new ways of thinking Christians will encounter in our study of the last section of Paul’s letter is how a church functions as the body of Christ in “this present evil age.”  Gal. 1:4.   

“Let love be without hypocrisy.   Abhor what is evil; cleave to what is good.”  Rom. 12:9.

“Bless those who persecute.”  Rom. 12:14.

“Leave room for the wrath of God.”  Rom. 12:19.

Another thought Christians are asked to work with is; “There is no authority except that which God has established.”  Rom. 13:1-5.  This includes all types of government, whether they are capitalist or socialist.  “He who rebels against the authority is rebelling against God.”  V. 2.  It does not matter to which political party the elected rulers belonged.  They are now God’s servant (V. 4).  Christians do not condemn a country because they do not like their form of government.  “The authorities that exist have been established by God.”  V. 1. 

News again!  “In Christ,” the weak and strong can live together in harmony (Rom. 14:1-18).  How?  The strong will not regard the weak brethren with contempt.  The weak will not judge the strong.  The reason for this new thinking is this; we do not judge another persons’ servant.  All Christians are servants of God, whether they are weak or strong.  These are some of the new thoughts we will study in the last five chapters of the Roman letter.  We can see how this new thinking will bring about new behavioral activities from our bodies. 

Let us now preview some of the deeds suggested in the last five chapters of this letter.  Different ways have been suggested in which Christians can choose to function in the body of Christ.  They are prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, and acts of mercy.  We do not object to service in this manner because our minds have been renewed to make sound judgment (Rom. 12:3-8).  The Christians’ true love for God’s family will cause us to give honor to others over ourselves.  We will be diligent in service and humble in tribulation.  We are praying people.  We contribute to the needs of the saints.  We associate with the lowly because our love is not hypocritical love (Rom. 12:9-16).

Christians overcome evil with good because we are convinced God will punish all wrong doers who continue in their evil ways.  Our aim is to prove it is possible to have peace in this world.  We know the only way there can be peace is to leave vengeance to God (Rom. 12:17-21).  Christians respond to civil government by paying taxes, obeying the rules and giving honor to whom honor is due.   We know God ordained these powers; therefore, we obey for conscience sake, as well as to stay free from the wrath of the officials (Rom. 13:6, 7).

The law God gave to Moses is fulfilled in the lives of Christians, not because we are under the law, but because of our transformation.  Christians follow the Spirit.   We are putting on Jesus Christ.  We only have one debt.  It is to love (Rom. 13:8-10).

Christians help our weaker brothers and sisters because we do not want to tear down the work of God.  We would even abstain from eating meat if it would cause another member of the church to stumble (Rom. 14:19-21).  We aim to please our neighbor for their good.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, And concerning you, my brethren,  I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to also admonish one another.  Rom. 15:13, 14

Questions for Discussion

  1. How does the will of God find fulfillment in His kingdom?
  2. What is God’s will for man?
  3. How does Jesus serve God and mankind to fulfill God’s will?
  4. How do Christians prove God’s will?
  5. What are the necessary steps in the transformation of Christians?
  6. Why is it impossible to be transformed to the likeness of this world?
  7. Whose will is proven by those who conform to the world?
  8. Name parts of Christians that must be changed before the transformation can begin?
  9. List some of the “new thinking” in the last five chapters of Romans.
  10. List some of the acts of spiritual service Christians have been asked to perform in the last five chapters of Romans.
  11. What does the life of a transformed Christian prove about God’s will?
  12. What is the connection between Romans 12:1, 2 and the reinventing of ourselves?

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