Reflecting on Romans
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” — Romans 12:1-2
The first eleven chapters of Romans contain incredible expressions of God’s vision for bringing Jews and Gentiles together as one people of God through Jesus Christ. Paul explains how this occurs in Israel’s history and that Jesus is the culminating moment uniting all God’s people in the Kingdom of God. Paul is clear that salvation in this community is an act of grace from God and that nobody can earn it on their own merit. So, Paul appeals to the church in Rome, facing tremendous challenges in its own day, knowing their salvation comes from God and that we’re called to look like Jesus in the world, to offer their bodies to God together. The only way to do this is with transformed minds.
Transformation is easy to talk about but not easy to do. As a church we have been undergoing substantial transformation. Our prayer is that as we walk this path that we would be “testing” to know the will of God. To be clear, Deuteronomy 6:16 says, “You shall no put the Lord your God to the test.” However, this is not what Paul means. Paul’s desire is “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.”
Simply stated, we’re not testing God but rather our ministries that seek to serve God. This is the reason behind any faithful change in a church. At MPC, our outreach is mainly families and bring youth. We want to share our resources with them, and this requires a transformed mind. We need to test and see whether God will bless this. The same is true with our partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University using our building for its graduate program and with the Palm Beach Suzuki School of Music.
We cannot live as God’s transformed people if we do not test and see what is the will of God. The goal of all ministry is for it to be ‘good and acceptable and perfect.’ Let’s continue to pray for these new ministries and groups using our campus as well as our existing ones that they might continue as beautiful expressions of our community as a living sacrifice to God.