Matthew Henry's Commentary
elievers are to dedicate themselves to God. (1,2) To be humble, and faithfully to use their spiritual gifts, in their respective
stations. (3-8) Exhortations to various duties. (9-16) And to peaceable conduct towards all men, with forbearance and benevolence.
Verse 1,2: The apostle having closed the part of his epistle
wherein he argues and proves various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel principles.
He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to
Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we
are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God:
a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification
are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of sanctification,
dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected
in glory. The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though
it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of
the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the
will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness,
and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God.
Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who
is the Head of the body, and the common Centre of their unity. In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one
sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit.
If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must
not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretence of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying
out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I am
nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever our
gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking
our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come.
9-16: The professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and
deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is
kind and useful. We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed
up in one word, love. This denotes the love of parents to their children; which is more tender and natural than any other;
unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal for the gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all his
wordly business, and in gaining superior skill. God must be served with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit.
He is honoured by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for
him, but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God's sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice
in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. We should not be cold in the duty of prayer, nor soon weary of it. Not only
must there be kindness to friends and brethren, but Christians must not harbour anger against enemies. It is but mock love,
which rests in words of kindness, while our brethren need real supplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready
to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good
will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. True Christian
love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual
truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Do
not mind it; be not in love with it. Be reconciled to the place God in his providence puts you in, whatever it be. Nothing
is below us, but sin. We shall never find in our hearts to condescend to others, while we indulge conceit of ourselves; therefore
that must be mortified.
Verses 17-21: Since men became enemies to God,
they have been very ready to be enemies one to another. And those that embrace religion, must expect to meet with enemies
in a world whose smiles seldom agree with Christ's. Recompense to no man evil for evil. That is a brutish recompence, befitting
only animals, which are not conscious of any being above them, or of any existence hereafter. And not only do, but study and
take care to do, that which is amiable and creditable, and recommends religion to all with whom you converse. Study the things
that make for peace; if it be possible, without offending God and wounding conscience. Avenge not yourselves. This is a hard
lesson to corrupt nature, therefore a remedy against it is added. Give place unto wrath. When a man's passion is up, and the
stream is strong, let it pass off; lest it be made to rage the more against us. The line of our duty is clearly marked out,
and if our enemies are not melted by persevering kindness, we are not to seek vengeance; they will be consumed by the fiery
wrath of that God to whom vengeance belongeth. The last verse suggests what is not easily understood by the world; that in
all strife and contention, those that revenge are conquered, and those that forgive are conquerors. Be not overcome of evil.
Learn to defeat ill designs against you, either to change them, or to preserve your own peace. He that has this rule over
his spirit, is better than the mighty. God's children may be asked whether it is not more sweet unto them than all earthly
good, that God so enables them by his Spirit, thus to feel and act
David Burnette's Life Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making
an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue
in the book of Romans with Chapter 12 and in our text we see in the remainder of the book how Paul gives us instruction on
how to behave. Our personal responsibility to be a living sacrifice to God as we live in our flesh, in a world of sin, indwelt
with the Holy Spirit, we are to yield our members to serve in the body of Christ. How about you? Are you Saved? If so, do
you see your responsibility to our Lord to yield ourselves as a living sacrifice to God? Let us learn from our text today
and the wisdom of Paul as he explains how , as Christians, we are live in this world yielded to the Spirit of God that indwells
us as we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to our Lord.
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.
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.
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.
4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5So we, being many, are one body in Christ,
and every one members one of another.
then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion
7Or ministry, let us wait on our
ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that
sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend
to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for
it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil