Renewing on the Mind

 

Introduction (Romans 12:1-3)

 

Have you ever met people that are set in their ways? No matter what you tell or show them they will not believe you. Columbus dealt with this. (The world is flat). Religion you must follow our tradition. Work it has to be done this way because we have always done it like that. The saying if it is not broken do not fix it, no room for improvement.

 

 

1.      Living Sacrifice   (Gen. 4:3-7)

        Two examples of sacrifice one was accepted and the other was not.

        We need to look at the reason for this.

  i.      Abel comes to God with his best, first fruits.

ii.      Every place that God has called for a sacrifice the request has been for unblemished offering.

iii.      The priest was ordered to take the best portions from the best stock.

iv.      Able comes before God and God accepts his sacrifice because of Abelís grateful heart.

v.      Cain on the other hand brought the wicker basket with mangos, rotten potatoes, frijoles etc.

vi.      God was not pleased with Cain and rejected his offering.

        The example we have of a pleasing sacrifice is Jesus on the cross.

        Godís very best his own son, holy and pure.

        Your reasonable service is to bring you best to God.

   i.      How you live you life is very important

ii.      (Lev 11:45 & 19:2) Be holy for I Am Holy.

 

2.      Conformed to The World 

        The world teaches us that there are other things more important than Jesus.

        Life not total yielded to God is normal and fulfilling.

  i.      Attaining riches, career etc in this world is better than giving all your time to God.

ii.      There more to life than the persuit to godlyness

iii.      Professional ignorers of the Word of God.

1.      Fornication, adultery, theft and hate is normal in life.

2.      Donít be committed to God to much religion will hurt you.

        The complete opposite from living sacrifice, but make gods of the worlds lifestyle.  

 

 

3.      Renew Your Mind 

        This speaks of salvation (2Cor: 5:17)  new creation

        Your life has changed and you think differently

        You need to guard your mind with Godís word and works

        (Heb. 8:8-10)  A new covenant God have placed his will in our minds and heart, Born again.       

  i.      You need to change you thought to those of righteousness.

ii.      This is a call to those who believe, that they act and think holy like Jesus Christ.

iii.      This removes us from religion and traditions the proof is in the lifestyle.

iv.      You want to know who preaches the true gospel, look at you lives it.

        Being saved is a lot more than what church you attend. It is what is written in your heart and mind.

        What are your thoughts when you are alone?

   i.      Do you think of Godly things?

ii.      Are you a living sacrifice if not will you be.

 

 

 

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Rom 12:1-3

1          I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2          And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3          For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (KJV)

 

 

Gen 4:3-7

3          And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4          And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5          But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6          And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7          If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (KJV)

 

 

Lev 11:45

45        For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

 

Lev 19:2

2        Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.

 

 

2 Cor 5:17

17        Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

Heb 8:8-10

8          For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9          Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10        For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans 12:1-2

IV. Attitude and Conduct Expected of Christians at Rome. 12:1-15:13.

 

Evidently Paul had been well informed of the needs of believers at Rome. Although most of his exhortations fit any group of believers, many of them show that the apostle was thinking of a particular group as he wrote. The range of these exhortations in amazing. They touch almost every aspect of life. Christian living is simply being a Christian and acting as a Christian should in every part of life.

A. Consecration of Body and Mind. 12:1,2.

 

Romans 12:1-2

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Verse 1-2. The language here is from the OT, and reminds us that Jewish believers presented sacrifices to the Lord. But Christian believers, instead of giving something outside themselves, are to offer their own bodies to God as living, holy, and acceptable sacrifices. This type of sacrifice is a spiritual service involving all of their rational powers. 2. Because of the dedication involved, believers are to cease being conformed to this age and let themselves be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). Such transformation and renewal is to prove by testing (approve or discover) God's will as to what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.

(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

 

Romans 12:1; Romans 12:2; Romans 12:3

Romans 12:1

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The apostle having now finished the doctrinal part of this letter, proceeds to the practical: and here it may be necessary to take a view of his arguments in the preceding chapters.

The election, calling, and justification of the believing Gentiles, and their being admitted into the kingdom and covenant of God, and having an interest in all the privileges and honours of his children.

(1) That they have a clear and substantial title to all these he has proved in Romans 1-3.

(2) That this right is set on the same footing with Abraham's title to the blessings of the covenant he proves in Romans 4.

(3) That it gives us a title to privileges and blessings, as great as any the Jews could glory in, by virtue of that covenant, Romans 5:1-12.

(4) He goes still higher, and shows that our being interested in the gift and grace of God in Christ Jesus is perfectly agreeable to the grace which he Has bestowed upon all mankind, in delivering them from that death of the body brought on them by Adam's transgression, Romans 5:12-21.

(5) He fully explains, both with regard to the Gentiles and Jews, the nature of the Gospel constitution in relation to its obligations to holiness and the advantages it gives for encouragement, obedience, and support, under the severest trials and persecutions, Romans 6-8.

(6) As to the pretences of the Jews, that "God was bound by express promise to continue them as His only people forever, and that this was directly inconsistent with the election and calling of the Gentiles, on the condition of faith alone ;" he demonstrates that the rejection of the Jews is consistent with the truth of God's word, and with His righteousness: he shows the true cause and reason of their rejection, and concludes with an admirable discourse upon the extent and duration of it, which he closes with adoration of the divine wisdom in its various dispensations, Romans 9-11.

Thus, having cleared this important subject with surprising judgment, and the nicest art and skill in writing, he now proceeds, after his usual manner in his letters and the apostolic method of preaching, to inculcate various Christian duties, and to exhort to that temper of mind and conduct of life which are suitable to the profession of the Gospel and the enjoyment of its privileges.-Dr. Taylor.

[I beseech you therefore, brethren] This address is probably intended both for the Jews and the Gentiles; though some suppose that the Jews are addressed in the first verse, the Gentiles in the second.

[By the mercies of God] Dia (NT:1223) toon (NT:3588) oiktirmoon (NT:3628) tou (NT:3588) Theou (NT:2316) By the tender mercies or compassions of God, such as a tender father shows to his refractory children; who, on their humiliation, is easily persuaded to forgive their offences. The word oiktirmos (NT:3628) comes from oiktos, compassion, and from eikoo, to yield; because he that has compassionate feelings is easily prevailed upon to do a kindness, or pardon an injury.

[That ye present your bodies] A metaphor taken from bringing sacrifices to the altar of God. The person offering picked out the choicest of his flock, brought it to the altar, and presented it there as an atonement for his sin. They are exhorted to give themselves up in the spirit of sacrifice; to be as wholly the Lord's property as the whole burnt-offering was, no part being devoted to any other use.

[A living sacrifice] In opposition to those dead sacrifices which they were in the habit of offering while in their Jewish state; and that they should have the lusts of the flesh mortified, so that they might live to God.

[Holy] Without spot or blemish; referring still to the sacrifice required by the law.

[Acceptable unto God] Euareston (NT:2101) The sacrifice being perfect in its kind, and the intention of the offerer being such that both can be acceptable and well pleasing to God, who searches the heart. All these phrases are sacrificial, and show that there must be a complete surrender of the person - the body, the whole man, mind and flesh, to be given to God; and that he is to consider himself no more his own, but the entire property of his Maker.

[Your reasonable service.] Nothing can be more consistent with reason than that the work of God should glorify its Author. We are not our own, we are the property of the Lord, by the right of creation and redemption; and it would be as unreasonable as it would be wicked not to live for His glory, in strict obedience to His will. The reasonable service, logikeen (NT:3050) latreian (NT:2999), of the apostle, may refer to the difference between the Jewish and Christian worship. The former religious service consisted chiefly in its sacrifices, which were di' (NT:1223) alogoon (NT:249) of irrational creatures, i.e. the lambs, rams, kids, bulls, goats, etc., which were offered under the law. The Christian service or worship is logikee (NT:3050), rational, because performed according to the true intent and meaning of the law; the heart and soul being engaged in the service. He alone lives the life of a fool, and one is a madman if he lives the life of a sinner against God; for, in sinning against his Maker he wrongs his own soul, loves death, and rewards evil unto himself.

Reasonable service, logikeen (NT:3050) latreian (NT:2999) "a religious service according to reason," one rationally performed. The Romanists make this distinction between latreia (NT:2999), and douleia (NT:1397) (or dulia, as they corruptly write it), worship and service, which they say signify two kinds of religious worship; the first proper to GOD, the other communicated to the creatures. But douleia (NT:1397), services, is used by the Septuagint to express the divine worship. See Deuteronomy 13:4; Judges 2:7; 1 Samuel 7:3, and 12:10. And in the New Testament, Matthew 6:24; Luke 6:23; Romans 16:18; Colossians 3:24. The angel refused douleian (NT:1397), Revelation 22:7, because he was only a sundoulos (NT:4889) a fellow-servant; and the divine worship is more frequently expressed by this word douleia (NT:1397), service, than by latreia (NT:2999), worship. Douleia (NT:1397) is used 39 times in the Old Testament (Septuagint) and New Testament as ascribed unto God, the other about 30 times; and latreia (NT:2999), worship or service, is given unto the creatures, as in Leviticus 23:7-8,21; Numbers 28:18; yea, the word signifies cruel and base bondage, Deuteronomy 28:48.

Once in the New Testament it is taken for the worship of the creatures, Romans 1:25. The worshipping of idols is forbidden under the word latreia (NT:2999), 34 times in the Old Testament (Septuagint), and once in the New Testament, as above; and 23 times under the term douleia (NT:1397), in the Old Testament (Septuagint); and Paul uses douleuein (NT:1398) Theoo (NT:2316), and latreuein (NT:3000) Theoo (NT:2316) indifferently, for the worship we owe to God. See Romans 1:9,25; 12:1; Galatians 4:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 6:24. And Ludovicus Vives, a learned Romanist, has proved out of Suidas, Xenophon, and Volla, that these two words are usually taken the one for the other, therefore the Popish distinction, that the first signifies "the religious worship due only to God," and the second, "that which is given to angels, saints, and men," is unlearned and false.-See Leigh's Crit. Sacra.

 

Romans 12:2

 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

[And be not conformed to this world] By this world, aiooni (NT:165) toutoo (NT:5129), may be understood that present state of things both among the Jews and Gentiles the customs and fashions of the people who then lived the Gentiles particularly, who had neither the power nor the form of godliness; though some think that the Jewish economy, frequently termed, `owlaam (OT:5769) hazeh (OT:2088), this world, this peculiar state of things, is alone intended. And the apostle warns them against reviving usages that Christ had abolished: this exhortation still continues in full force. The world that now is-"THIS present state of things," is as much opposed to the spirit of genuine Christianity as the world was then. Pride, luxury, vanity, extravagance in dress, and riotous living prevail now, as they did then, and are as unworthy of a Christian's pursuit, as they are injurious to his soul, and hateful in the sight of God.

[Be ye transformed] Metamorphousthe (NT:3339), Be ye metamorphosed, transfigured, appear as new persons, and with new habits; as God has given you a new form of worship, so that ye serve in the newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. The word implies a radical, thorough, and universal change, both outward and inward. SENECA, Epistle vi, shows us the force of this word when used in a moral sense. Sentio, he says, non EMENDARI me tantum, sed TRANSFIGURARI; "I perceive myself not to be amended merely, but to be transformed:" i.e. entirely renewed.

[By the renewing of your mind] Let the inward change produce the outward. Where the spirit, the temper, and disposition of the mind, Ephesians 4:23, are not renewed, an outward change is of but little worth and but of short standing.

[That ye may prove] Eis (NT:1519) to (NT:3588) dokimazein (NT:1381), That ye may have practical proof and experimental knowledge of the will of God-of his purpose and determination, which is good in itself; infinitely so. Acceptable, euareston (NT:2101), well pleasing to and well received by every mind that is renewed and transformed.

[And perfect] Teleion (NT:5046), Finished and complete: when the mind is renewed, and the whole life changed, then the will of God is perfectly fulfilled; for this is its grand design in reference to every human being.

These words are supposed by Schoettgen to refer entirely to the Jewish law. The Christians were to renounce this world-the Jewish state of things; to be transformed, by having their minds enlightened in the pure and simple Christian worship, so that they might prove the grand characteristic difference between the two covenants, the latter being good in opposition to the statutes which were not good, Ezekiel 20:25; acceptable, in opposition to those sacrifices and offerings which God would not accept, as it is written, Psalms 40:6-8; and perfect, in opposition to that system which was imperfect, and which made nothing perfect, and was only the shadow of good things to come. There are both ingenuity and probability in this view of the subject.

 

Romans 12:3

 

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

[Through the grace given unto me] By the grace given Paul most certainly means his apostolic office, by which he had the authority, not only to preach the Gospel, but also to rule the church of Christ. This is the meaning of the word, hee (NT:3588) charis (NT:5485), in Ephesians 3:8: "Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given"-is conceded this office or employment immediately by God Himself; "that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

[Not to think of himself more highly] Mee (NT:3361) huperphronein (NT:5252) Not to act proudly; to arrogate nothing to himself on account of any grace he had received, or of any office committed to him.

[But to think soberly] Alla (NT:235) phronein (NT:5426) eis (NT:1519) to (NT:3588) soophronein (NT:4993). The reader will perceive here a sort of paronomasia (play upon words): phronein (NT:5426), from phreen (NT:5424), the mind, signifies to think, mind, relish, to be of opinion, etc.; and soophronein (NT:4993) from soos, sound (sane), and phreen (NT:5424), the mind, signifies to be of a sound mind; to think discreetly, modestly, humbly. Let no man think himself more or greater than God has made him; and let him know that whatever he is or has of good or excellence, he has it from God; and that the glory belongs to the giver, and not to him who has received the gift.

[Measure of faith.] Metron (NT:3358) pisteoos (NT:4102). It is very likely, as Dr. Moore has conjectured, the pistis (NT:4102), faith, here used, means the Christian religion; and the measure, the degree of knowledge and experience which each had received in it, and the power this gave him of being useful in the church of God. See Romans 12:6.

 

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database.

Romans 12:1; Romans 12:2; Romans 12:3

 

[A living sacrifice] A sacrifice is an offering made to God as an atonement for sin; or any offering made to him and his service as an expression of thanksgiving or homage. It implies that he who offers it presents it entirely, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honor of God. In the case of an animal, it was slain, and the blood offered; in the case of any other offering, as the first-fruits, etc., it was set apart to the service of God; and he who offered it released all claim on it, and submitted it to God, to be disposed of at his will. This is the offering which the apostle entreats the Romans to make: to devote themselves to God, as if they had no longer any claim on themselves; to be disposed of by him; to suffer and bear all that he might appoint; and to promote his honor in any way which he might command. This is the nature of true religion.

 

Living] zoosan (NT:2198). The expression probably means that they were to devote the vigorous, active powers of their bodies and souls to the service of God. The Jew offered his victim, slew it, and presented it dead. It could not be presented again. In opposition to this, we are to present ourselves with all our living, vital energies. Christianity does not require a service of death or inactivity. It demands vigorous and active powers in the service of God the Saviour. There is something very affecting in the view of such a sacrifice; in regarding life, with all its energies, its intellectual, and moral, and physical powers, as one long sacrifice; one continued offering unto God. An immortal being presented to him; presented voluntarily, with all his energies, from day to day, until life shall close, so that it may he said that he has lived and died an offering made freely unto God. This is religion.

 

[Holy] This means properly without blemish or defect. No other sacrifice could be made to God. The Jews were expressly forbid to offer what was lame, or blind, or in anyway deformed; Deuteronomy 15:21; Leviticus 1:3,10; 3:1; 22:20; Deuteronomy 17:1; compare Malachi 1:8. If offered without any of these defects, it was regarded as holy, that is, appropriately set apart, or consecrated to God. In like manner we are to consecrate to God our best faculties; the vigor of our minds, and talents, and time. Not the feebleness of sickness merely; not old age alone; not time which we cannot otherwise employ, but the first vigor and energies of the mind and body; our youth, and health, and strength. Our sacrifice to God is to be not divided, separate; but it is to be entire and complete. Many are expecting to be Christians in sickness; many in old age; thus purposing to offer unto him the blind and the lame. The sacrifice is to be free from sin. It is not to be a divided, and broken, and polluted service. It is to be with the best affections of our hearts and lives.

 

 

 

[Acceptable unto God] They are exhorted to offer such a sacrifice as will be acceptable to God; that is, such a one as he had just specified, one that was living and holy. No sacrifice should be made which is not acceptable to God. The offerings of the pagan; the pilgrimages of the Muslims; the self-inflicted penalties of the Roman Catholics, uncommanded by God, cannot be acceptable to him. Those services will be acceptable to God, and those only, which he appoints; compare Colossians 2:20-23. People are not to invent services; or to make crosses; or to seek persecutions and trials; or to provoke opposition. They are to do just what God requires of them, and that will be acceptable to God. And this fact, that what we do is acceptable to God, is the highest recompense we can have. It matters little what people think of us, if God approves what we do. To please him should be our highest aim; the fact that we do please him is our highest reward.

 

[Which is your reasonable service] The word rendered "service" latreian (NT:2999) properly denotes worship, or the homage rendered to God. The word "reasonable" with us means what is "governed by reason; thinking, speaking, or acting conformably to the dictates of reason"

 (Webster); or what can be shown to be rational or proper. This does not express the meaning of the original. That word logikeen (NT:3050) denotes what pertains to the mind, and a reasonable service means what is mental, or pertaining to reason. It stands opposed, nor to what is foolish or unreasonable, but to the external service of the Jews, and such as they relied on for salvation. The worship of the Christian is what pertains to the mind, or is spiritual; that of the Jew was external. Chrysostom renders this phrase "your spiritual ministry." The Syriac, "That ye present your bodies, etc., by a rational ministry."

We may learn from this verse,

(1) That the proper worship of God is the free homage of the mind. It is not forced or constrained. The offering of ourselves should be voluntary. No other can be a true offering, and none other can be acceptable.

(2) We are to offer our entire selves, all that we have and are, to God. No other offering can be such as he will approve.

(3) The character of God is such as should lead us to that. It is a character of mercy; of long-continued and patient forbearance, and it should influence us to devote ourselves to him.

(4) It should be done without delay. God is as worthy of such service now as he ever will or can be. He has every possible claim on our affections and our hearts.

 

Romans 12:2

 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

[And be not conformed ...] The word rendered "conformed" properly means to put on the form, fashion, or appearance of another. It may refer to anything pertaining to the habit, manner, dress, style of living, etc., of others.

[Of this world] too (NT:3588) aiooni (NT:165) toutoo (NT:5129). The word which is commonly rendered "world," when applied to the material universe, is kosmos (NT:2889), "cosmos." The word used here properly denotes an age, or generation of people. It may denote a particular generation, or it may be applied to the race. It is sometimes used in each of these senses. Thus, here it may mean that Christians should not conform to the maxims, habits, feelings, etc., of a wicked, luxurious, and idolatrous age, but should be conformed solely to the precepts and laws of the gospel; or the same principle may be extended to every age, and the direction may be, that Christians should not conform to the prevailing habits, style, and manners of the world, the people who know not God. They are to be governed by the laws of the Bible; to fashion their lives after the example of Christ; and to form themselves by principles different from those which prevail in the world. In the application of this rule there is much difficulty. Many may think that they are not conformed to the world, while they can easily perceive that their neighbor is. They indulge in many things which others may think to be conformity to the world, and are opposed to many things which others think innocent. The design of this passage is doubtless to produce a spirit that should not find pleasure in the pomp and vanity of the World; and which will regard all vain amusements and gaieties with disgust, and lead the mind to find pleasure in better things.

[Be ye transformed] The word from which the expression here is derived means "form, habit" morfee (NT:3444). The direction is, "put on another form, change the form of the world for that of Christianity." This word would properly refer to the external appearance, but the expression which the apostle immediately uses, "renewing of the mind,." shows that he did not intend to use it with reference to that only, but to the charge of the whole man. The meaning is, do not cherish a spirit. devoted to the world, following its vain fashions and pleasures, but cultivate a spirit attached to God, and his kingdom and cause.

[By the renewing] By the making new; the changing into new views and feelings. The Christian is often represented as a new creature; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 2:2.

[Your mind] The word translated "mind" properly denotes intellect, as distinguished from the will and affections. But here it seems to be used as applicable to the whole spirit as distinguished from the body, including the understanding, will, and affections. As if he had said, Let not this change appertain to the body only, but to the soul. Let it not be a mere external conformity, but let it have its seat in the spirit. All external changes, if the mind was not changed, would be useless, or would be hypocrisy. Christianity seeks to reign in the soul; and having its seat there, the external conduct and habits will be regulated accordingly.

[That ye may prove] The word used here dokimazoo (NT:1381) is commonly applied to metals, to the operation of testing, or trying them by the severity of fire, etc. Hence, it also means to explore, investigate, ascertain. This is its meaning here. The sense is, that such a renewed mind is essential to a successful inquiry after the will of God. Having a disposition to obey him, the mind will be prepared to understand his precepts. There will be a correspondence between the feelings of the heart and his will; a nice tact or taste, which will admit his laws, and see the propriety and beauty of his commands. A renewed heart is the best preparation for studying Christianity; as a man who is temperate is the best suited to understand the arguments for temperance; the man who is chaste, has most clearly and forcibly the arguments for chastity, etc. A heart in love with the fashions and follies of the world is ill-suited to appreciate the arguments for humility, prayer, etc. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God," John 7:17. The reason why the heart is renewed is that we may do the will of God: the heart that is renewed is best suited to appreciate and understand his will.

[That good ...] This part of the verse might be rendered, that ye may investigate the will of God, or ascertain the Will of God, what is good, and perfect, and acceptable. The will of God relates to his commands in regard to our conduct, his doctrines in regard to our belief, his providential dealings in relation to our external circumstances. It means what God demands of us, in whatever way it may be made known. They do not err from his ways who seek his guidance, and who, not confiding in their own wisdom, but in God, commit their way to him. "The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way," Psalms 25:9. The word "good" here is not an adjective agreeing with "will," but a noun. "That ye may find the will of God, what is good and acceptable." It implies that that thing which is good is his will; or that we may find his will by finding what is good and perfect. That is good which promotes the honor of God and the interests of his universe.

[Perfect] Free from defect, stain, or injury. That which has all its parts complete, or which is not disproportionate. Applied to religion, it means what is consistent, which is carried out; which is evinced in all the circumstances and reations of life.

[Acceptable] That which will be pleasing to God. or which he will approve. There is scarcely a more difficult text in the Bible than this, or one that is more full of meaning. It involves the main duty of religion to be separated from the world; and expresses the way in which that duty may be performed, and in which we may live so as to ascertain and do the will of God. If all Christians would obey this, religion would be everywhere honored. If all would separate from the vices and follies, the amusements and gaieties of the world, Christ would be glorified. If all were truly renewed in their minds, they would lose their relish for such things, and seeking only to do the will of God, they would not be slow to find it.

 

Romans 12:3

 

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

[For I say] The word "for" shows that the apostle is about to introduce some additional considerations to enforce what he had just said, or to show how we may evince a mind that is not conformed to the world.

[Through the grace] Through the favor, or in virtue of the favor of the apostolic office. By the authority that is conferred on me to declare the will of God as an apostle; see the note at Romans 1:5; see also Galatians 1:6,15; 2:9; Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:14.

[Not to think ...] Not to over-estimate himself, or to think more of himself than he ought to. What is the true standard by which we ought to estimate ourselves he immediately adds. This is a caution against pride; and an exhortation not to judge of ourselves by our talents, wealth, or function, but to form another standard of judging of ourselves, by our Christian character. The Romans would probably be in much danger from this quarter. The prevailing habit of judging among them was according to rank, or wealth, or eloquence, or function. While this habit of judging prevailed in the world around them, there was danger that it might also prevail in the church. And the exhortation was that they should not judge of their own characters by the usual modes among people, but by their Christian attainments. There is no sin to which people are more prone than an inordinate self-valuation and pride. Instead of judging by what constitutes true excellence of character, they pride themselves on that which is of no intrinsic value; on rank, and titles, and external accomplishments; or on talents, learning, or wealth. The only true standard of character pertains to the principles of action, or to that which constitutes the moral nature of the man; and to that the apostle calls the Roman people.

[But to think soberly] Literally, "to think so as to act soberly or wisely." So to estimate ourselves as to act or demean ourselves wisely, prudently, modestly. Those who over-estimate themselves are proud, haughty, foolish in their deportment. Those who think of themselves as they ought, are modest, sober, prudent. There is no way to maintain a wise and proper conduct so certain, as to form a humble and modest estimate of our own character.

[According as God hath dealt] As God has measured to each one, or apportioned to each one. In this place the faith which Christians have, is traced to God as its giver. This act, that God has given it, will be itself one of the most effectual promoters of humility and right feeling. People commonly regard the objects on which they pride themselves as things of their own creation, or as depending on themselves. But let an object be regarded as the gift of God, and it ceases to excite pride, and the feeling is at once changed into gratitude. He, therefore, who regards God as the source of all blessings, and he only, will be an humble man.

[The measure of faith] The word "faith" here is evidently put for religion, or Christianity. Faith is a main thing in religion. It constitutes its first demand, and the Christian religion, therefore, is characterized by its faith, or its confidence, in God; see Mark 16:17; compare Hebrews 11; Romans 4:1. We are not, therefore, to be elated in our view of ourselves; we are not to judge of our own characters by wealth, or talent, or learning, but by our attachment to God, and by the influence of faith on our minds. The meaning is, judge yourselves, or estimate yourselves, by your piety. The propriety of this rule is apparent:

(1) Because no other standard is a correct one, or one of value. Our talent, learning, rank, or wealth, is a very improper rule by which to estimate ourselves. All may be wholly unconnected with moral worth; and the worst as well as the best people may possess them.

(2) God will judge us in the day of judgment by our attachment to Christ and his cause (Matthew 25); and that is the true standard by which to estimate ourselves here.

(3) Nothing else will secure and promote humility but this. All other things may produce or promote pride, but this will effectually secure humility. The fact that God has given all that we have; the fact that the poor and obscure may have as true an elevation of character as ourselves; the consciousness of our own imperfections and short-comings in the Christian faith; and the certainty that we are soon to be arraigned to try this great question, whether we have evidence that we are the friends of God; will all tend to promote humbleness of mind and to bring down our usual inordinate self-estimation. If all Christians judged themselves in this way, it would remove at once no small part of the pride of station and of life from the world, and would produce deep attachment for those who are blessed with the faith of the gospel, though they may be unadorned by any of the wealth or trappings which now promote pride and distinctions among men.

 

(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

 

 

Genesis 4:1-2; Genesis 4:3-4; Genesis 4:5-6; Genesis 4:7-8

C. The Two Brothers. 4:1-26.

 

Genesis 4:1-2

 

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

Cain (Qayin). The word Cain is usually associated with the Hebrew word (qana), "to acquire" or "to get." The derivation is based on the resemblance of sound, rather than on basic etymology. It might be called a play on words. The actual meaning of the word possibly came through the Arabic ("a lance" or "a smith"). Eve was overjoyed at the birth of her son. She exclaimed, "I have gotten a man." 2. Abel (Hebel). The name given to the second son indicates "a fleeting breath" or "a vapor." The cognate Accadian word aplu means son. Abel was the originator of pastoral life, while Cain followed his father in the pursuit of agriculture.

 

Genesis 4:3-4

 

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

An offering (minha). Each man brought a special present or gift to Jehovah. No mention is made of the altar or of the place of the religious observance. The (minha), as the ancients knew it, served to express gratitude, to effect reconciliation with the Lord, and to accompany worship. This account pictures the first act of worship recorded in human history. In each case the worshiper brought something of his own as an oblation to the Lord.

5 a. The Lord had respect (sha`a). The gift brought by Cain was not received by the Lord. No reason is given here for the rejection. And the Scripture does not tell us how God indicated his disapproval. It may be that fire fell from heaven and consumed the accepted offering but left the other untouched. Some have thought that Cain's offering was rejected because Cain failed to perform the proper ritual. Others have advanced the idea that the nature of the gifts made the difference-the one being flesh and involving death and bloodshed, the other being vegetable, without bloodshed (cf. Hebrews 9:22). The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews gives us the inspired explanation of the difference between the offerings: "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ... God bearing witness in respect of his gifts" (Hebrews 11:4). This explanation centers upon the difference in spirit manifested by the two men. Because Abel was a man of faith, he came in the right spirit and presented worship that pleased God. We have reason to believe that Abel had some realization of his need for substitutionary atonement. To all appearances both offerings expressed gratitude, thanksgiving, and devotion to God. But the man who lacked genuine faith in his heart could not please God even though the material gift was spotless. God did not look upon Cain because He had already looked at him and seen what was in his heart. Abel came to God in the right attitude of heart for worship and in the only way sinful men can approach a holy God. Cain did not.

 

 

Genesis 4:5-6

 

But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Cain's unbridled anger showed itself instantly. Furious wrath blazed out, revealing the spirit that was lodged within the heart. Cain became an enemy of God and hostile to his brother. Thus, wounded pride produced envy and a spirit of revenge. And these brought forth the burning hatred and violence that made murder possible. 6,7 a. Countenance fallen .... a lifting up. The heat that blazed within him caused his countenance to "fall." It brought on brooding and an unlovely, morose spirit. Gently and patiently God dealt with Cain, seeking to save the rebellious sinner. He assured him that if he would sincerely repent, he might again lift up his face in happiness and reconciliation. Nasa, "lift up," lends itself to the idea of forgiveness. The merciful Jehovah thus held out to Cain the hope of forgiveness and victory as he faced his momentous decision.

 

Genesis 4:7-8

 

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Sin (hatt'at) coucheth (rabas). Close upon that heartening promise, Jehovah uttered a stiff warning, urging the sinner to control his temper and beware lest a crouching beast (sin) spring upon him and devour him. The danger was real. The deadly beast was even at that moment ready to overpower him. God's word demanded instant action and strong effort to repulse the would-be conqueror. Cain must not let these boiling thoughts and impulses drive him to ruinous behavior. God made his strong appeal to Cain's (will). The will had to be thrown into the struggle to make victory over sin (hatt`at) complete. It was up to Cain to conquer sin in himself, to control rather than be controlled. The moment of destiny was upon him. It was not too late for him to choose the way of God.

(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)