Main point summary
You can only worship God with a renewed mind, thinking properly about yourselves and others, and serving one another through the gifts you have received, as God wills.
z I appeal to you therefore, brothers, 1
by the mercies of God,
a to present your bodies
b as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship. 2
c Do not be conformed to this world, 1
but be transformed
by d the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may e discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 2
For f by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you
g not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,
but to think with sober judgment ,
h each according to i the measure of faith that God has assigned.
For j as in one body we have many members, 1
and the members do not all have the same function,
so we, k though many, l are one body in Christ,
and individually m members one of another.
n Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them :
if o prophecy,
p in proportion to our faith;
if q service,
in our serving;
the one who teaches,
in his teaching;
the one who exhorts,
in his exhortation;
the one who contributes,
r the one who leads, 1
the one who does acts of mercy,
with s cheerfulness.
Meditations from the text After massive theology exposed in the previous chapters (Romans 1-11), Paul urges believers to worship God with their own lives being offered as living sacrifices to God. This is the only proper response of one who has been saved by the grace and mercy of God through the gospel of Christ. How is one to do that? Paul's answer is very enlightening: you must be transformed from within; otherwise, you won't discern God's will because you won't be able to. In vv. 3-5, Paul specifies what this renewal of the mind looks like: to think with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith assigned by God. This way of thinking is thus constrained by the purpose of God for us, as we are put into the body of Christ and called to function in a specific God-ordained manner. All gifts received from God are for the benefit of the body of Christ. Even though Paul doesn't include an exhaustive list of gifts (cf. 1 Corinthians 12), it seems he is not as worried with what capacity one receives from God as he is with how one serves with such capacity. Vv. 6-8 show it for this particular list of gifts. Questions The relationship between Romans 12:1-2 and Romans 12:3-5 is not easily discerned. According to Moo, speaking about vv. 3–5, "No specific relationship with vv. 1–2 is evident, but this call to Christian humility and unity is certainly one important manifestation of the transformation in thinking that should characterize the believer." Keener also considers vv. 3–5 as showing in more detail how v.2 unfolds: "Paul quickly becomes more specific about how this renewed mind guides believers’ service to God: in 12:3 he elaborates how one should “think.”" I have thus considered vv. 3–8 as an explanation of v. 2. (vv. 6–8 showing the extension from oneself to others in the body of Christ).  Moo, Douglas J. 1996 . The Epistle to the Romans . The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.  Keener, Craig S. 2009. Romans . New Covenant Commentary Series. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. Take-aways from the text We are encouraged by Paul: to present our lives in worship to God; to be transformed in our minds; to think about yourselves and others with sober judgment ; to use the gifts assigned by God to us by serving fellow believers in the body of Christ. Wonderful truths emerge from the passage: God has been so merciful in Christ that he delights to teach us his will, so that our lives may be offered to him as worship; We are always tempted by pride , even after conversion, and prone to exalt ourselves. Therefore, we need sober judgment about ourselves, in order to function properly within the body of Christ; We have been saved for a purpose: to glorify God . A meaningful Christian life is lived by serving our brothers and sisters in Christ while manifesting to the unbelieving world the unsurpassed love of God in Christ (John 3:16).