What’s The Difference?

Today’s Reading – Romans 11 – 13

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. 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. (Romans 12:1 & 2)

Have you ever used the expression, “what’s the difference?” In our culture, people use that little phrase all of the time and for a variety of meanings. However, this morning, I am truly asking the question, what’s the difference? What I mean by that is: what is different about you from the rest of the world? I once preached a message from 2 Corinthians 5:17 called “What’s New About You?”. The Bible is very clear that we who are Christians ought to be different from the world. We are not to be enamored by all of the things that this world has to offer. (1 John 2:15 – 17) God’s people have God, the Holy Spirit indwelling them, and He ought to make a big difference in our lives.

In our text, the Word of God teaches that we are not to be conformed (molded by the influence of the culture); but rather we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This comes when we yield to the Spirit within us and apply the principles contained in the Word of God to our lives. I found it interesting that prior to chapter twelve in this letter to the Romans, the focus seemed to be on the nation of Israel and how they continued to strive to find acceptance to God (unsuccessfully) through a system of works. You see the Jews never had a problem with appearing different from the rest of the world, as they were a very separated people. In chapter 11, the focus seems to shift to the Gentiles. Now the Gentiles didn’t have as much problem with the faith part. They were eager to believe the Word of God and trust the Lord Jesus; but they did have a problem with living a consecrated, separated life after their conversion to Christianity. The problem was their culture. The Jews were never a part of the godless culture of the Gentiles. To be part of the “in crowd” in Judaism meant that you lived a separated lifestyle. They did, however, have a big problem transferring their trust from their works to the finished work of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. Not so for the Gentiles, they believed easily; but they struggled with the Christian life.

We also struggle with walking as Christians ought to walk. Under the inspiration of God, Paul gives us the formula for success. We are to separate from the conforming influences of this world; and then saturate ourselves in the transforming power of the Word of God through the Spirit of God. If we will do those two things, the Christian life will be much less troublesome; and our life will shine that much brighter.

Have a great day in church today.

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