Romans 12 is a reversal of Romans 1. Those in Christ are the elect who have
been shown mercy. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. By
Jesus’ sacrifice Christians have been made spotless, without any blemish or
fault (Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22). This was how OT sacrifices were described
(Leviticus). And now Christians are called on to present their bodies as a living,
holy and acceptable sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1). Paul says this is “logiken,”
translated reasonable, spiritual, or logical (you see the word logic in logiken).
Considering all that God has done, it’s only logical for us to respond this way.
Logic is something that happens in our minds. Giving our body begins with a
change of thinking.
This new way of looking at our bodies begins with the transformation of our
thinking (Rom. 12:2). Negatively, we are not to be conformed to the world. The
word conformed comes from the idea of being shaped by a mold. You put jello
or gold or wax into a mold and they take on the shape of the mold. To be
shaped from the outside. The world or our culture wants to pull us into their way
of thinking. Whatever the popular standard of the day might be, whether good
or bad, will mold us to that way of thinking. It’s contagious. There’s a hysterical
delusion to think that the conclusions of society are normal. They can captivate
us (Col. 2:8). Look around, the world is following all sorts of evil notions.
The positive way to look at this transformation is a renewal of our minds. We
get the word metamorphosis from the Greek word Paul uses for transformed
(Rom. 12:2). We are to have a new “mind set” (Rom. 8), a totally new way of
thinking about what God wants (see the sermon on the mount, Mt. 5-7). There’s
a battle for our minds. Actions begin with thinking.
In Romans 1, there is a perverted way of thinking. Paul uses words like futile,
speculations and foolish to describe man’s thinking (Rom. 1:23). This impurity
of thinking results in the dishonoring of our bodies (1:24). Degrading passions
lead us to give up on the way God intended for us to use our bodies. The
natural is replaced by the unnatural. Paul follows up with a terrible description of
how we mistreat one another (1:28f). Just as Revelation 21-22 describes a
reversal of the curse in Genesis 3, Romans 12 describes the reversal of
Romans 1. Just as Romans 1 describes how the world mistreats one another,
Romans 12 continues with a description of how Christians are to treat one
another with love and devotion. Romans 12 is a reversal of Romans 1!