Romans 12:1-8 … Now we enter into the fourth part of the book of Romans. The first 11 chapters were teaching principles (which is called doctrine). Now we enter into application. Every good teacher will teach principles and then apply them in many useful ways. That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul will do in Romans 12-16. The section begins powerfully. Most people (I think) are fixed on what they might get from God. But properly, our thinking shouldn’t be: “What am I getting out of this?” but “what is God getting out of this?” That’s the focus this application begins with: to present our bodies, which means life and livelihood, to God, which (as one paraphrase puts it) is the intelligent thing to do.
Romans 12:2 talks about transforming and renewing your mind. All of the Word of God is intended to aid in that transformation, so we can answer the question: “What would God think about that?” We ought to know and to transform our actions into something that we know will be pleasing to Him and will glorify Him (which, in one sense, means to celebrate His reputation).
The remaining verses of this brief passage indicate that every believer is gifted to be part of the body in Christ (v.5), which means a part of a committed local assembly of believers. And the encouragement is to exercise our gifts, whatever they may be, to strengthen the local body so that ministry can take place in, around, and through the local body of the Church. That’s powerful stuff to begin our thinking about application of the principles of God’s Plan of Justification for sinners, for saints, and for the whole world.