Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS 12\\

The doctrines concerning predestination, justification being
established, the duties of religion are built upon them, and
enforced by them in this and the following chapters. The apostle
first exhorts all the members of the church in common to a regard to
the worship of God, in opposition to the things of the world; and
then the officers of the church particularly, to the discharge of
their duty; and next all of them, both officers and members, to the
performance of various duties respecting God, themselves, one
another, and the men of the world. The duty of attending public
worship is first mentioned, signified by a presentation of their
bodies to the Lord, \\#Ro 12:1\\, to which they are moved, partly by the
plenteous mercy and goodness of God to them; and partly by the
acceptableness of it to God; as also by the reasonableness of the
thing: then follows a dehortation from conformity to the world, the
men and manners of it, in superstition and will worship, or in acts
of immorality, \\#Ro 12:2\\, and also an exhortation to a different
course of life, in seeking to please God; which is proposed upon a
principle of grace in them, being renewed in the Spirit of their
mind; and with this end and view, that they might the better prove,
try, and discern, and come at, a greater knowledge of the mind and
will of God: and whereas gifts are apt to swell men with pride and
vanity, such as qualify men to bear any office in the church, the
apostle cautions against this spirit and conduct, and exhorts to
sobriety and humility; by observing, that what gifts they have, are
such that God has given them, and which they have not of themselves;
and what they have is only in part and in measure, some one and some
another; and none have all gifts, \\#Ro 12:3\\, this he illustrates,
\\#Ro 12:4\\, by an human body and the members of it, which being many,
have not the same office, but some one and some another; which he
accommodates to the body of Christ the church, \\#Ro 12:5\\, which
though but one in Christ, has many members; and these are members
one of another, and are designed mutually to serve and help each
other, for which the gifts among them were bestowed: and then the
apostle proceeds to take notice of the particular officers in the
church, and exhorts them to the function of their offices, according
to their different gifts; as, first, the preacher to preach
according to the rule of faith, and the measure of gifts bestowed,
\\#Ro 12:6\\, and then the deacon, the other officer, to attend to his
deaconship, \\#Ro 12:7\\, and inasmuch as these officers, according to
their different gifts, may be distinguished, some having a talent
for stating, explaining, and defending doctrines, and may be called
doctors, or teachers, let them attend to the doctrinal part of the
word; and others having a talent in the practical way of preaching,
whether by way of exhortation or comfort, and may be called
exhorters or comforters, let them attend to that branch of the
ministry, \\#Ro 12:8\\, and as for the deacon, the performance of his
office, whether it be by distributing to the poor, let him do it
impartially and faithfully; or by assisting in the government of the
church, let it be done with all diligence; or by showing mercy to
the poor in distress, besides what they usually receive, let it be
done with a cheerful countenance: next follow various duties which
are mentioned, not in an exact order or method, but may be reduced
to these heads; such as concern God, an unfeigned love of him,
abhorrence of all evil, and a close attachment to whatsoever is
good, \\#Ro 12:9\\, and also the worship of him, which is to be
performed with diligence and fervency, \\#Ro 12:11\\, the exercise of
the grace of hope with joy, patience in the midst of tribulations,
and perseverance in prayer, \\#Ro 12:12\\, then such duties as concern
one another, as Christians and brethren in a church relation; as to
exercise an affectionate brotherly love to each other, and to honour
one another; and even to give each other the preference, who may be
equal or superior, both in spiritual gifts, and in temporal things,
\\#Ro 12:10\\, and with respect to poor saints, to communicate
cheerfully to their necessities; and with respect to strangers, to
entertain them hospitably, \\#Ro 12:13\\, and as to every member,
whether in prosperous or adverse circumstances, to bear a part with
them, rejoicing with the one, weeping with the other, \\#Ro 12:15\\, and
to behave with humility, modesty, and sobriety, towards all,
\\#Ro 12:16\\, and next such duties as concern the men of the world,
particularly to bless, and not curse persecutors, \\#Ro 12:14\\, not to
retaliate evil for evil, but to do everything that is of good
report in the sight of men, \\#Ro 12:17\\, to study, if possible, to
live peaceably with all men, \\#Ro 12:18\\, to bridle passion and
refrain from wrath, and not seek private revenge, but leave it with
the Lord to take vengeance, \\#Ro 12:19\\, on the other hand, to he kind
and beneficent to enemies, by giving them food and drink when hungry
and thirsty, expressed in the words of Solomon, \\#Pr 25:21,22\\, the
reasons for which are, because hereby an enemy may be wrought upon,
and be brought either to shame or repentance, and become a friend,
\\#Ro 12:20\\, and because by doing otherwise, resenting and returning
the evil, a man is conquered by it; whereas, by the other method,
the enemy is conquered by good, \\#Ro 12:21\\, and it is much more
commendable and honourable to be a conqueror, than to be conquered.