How Should We Then Live?Romans 12:1-2Theme: Obedience.In this week’s lessons Dr. Boice teaches us how to live godly lives in an ungodly world. LessonAs we plunge into the great forest of these remaining chapters we shall be looking very closely at the trees. But this week we have been doing something equally valuable. We have been looking at the forest, and the bottom line of our study is that truth is a whole. Since we are talking about God’s saving work for us, this means that everything God has done for us in salvation has bearing on everything we should do, in all of life. We must be different people because God has saved us from our sins.
And Christians are. A number of years ago the Gallup Poll organization devised a scale to sort out those for whom religion seemed to be important and to find out if it made any difference in their lives. America claims to be a very religious country, but the nation is increasingly immoral. Gallup wanted to know if serious religion made a difference for those who considered themselves to be “highly spiritually motivated” or committed.
He found that 12.5 percent of Americans are in this “upper” category, one person in eight. And he found that they really are different, so much so that he called them “a breed apart.” He found that these people differed from the rest of the population in at least four key areas:
1. They are more satisfied with their lot in life. They are happier: 68 percent say they are “very happy” as compared with only 30 percent of those who are uncommitted.
2. Their families are stronger. The divorce rate among this group is far lower than among the less committed.
3. They tend to be more tolerant of persons of different races and religions. This is exactly opposite from what the media suggest when dealing with religion or religious leaders.
4. They are more involved in charitable activities than are their counterparts. A total of 46 percent of the highly spiritually committed say they are presently working among the poor, the infirm, and the elderly, compared to only 36 percent of the moderately committed, 28 percent of the moderately uncommitted, and 22 percent of the highly uncommitted.1
True conversion makes a difference in a person’s life. If there are no differences, there is no genuine conversion. But what are the differences? They are precisely those that are spelled out in the remaining chapters of this letter to the Romans. Laws in themselves change nothing, or at least very little. It is changed people who change everything. And the only thing that ever really changes people is God himself through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you have been called to faith in Jesus Christ, you are part of a radically changed community, the new humanity. It is your privilege to begin to make changes in our world.
1 George Gallup, Jr., “Is America’s Faith for Real?” Princeton Theological Seminary Alumni News, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 15-17.
ReflectionAs the Gallup poll asserts, true conversion makes a difference in a person’s life. Take some time today to look at your own life. How satisfied are you with your lot in life? How strong is your commitment in the areas of building relationships within your family, accepting people who are different from you, and loving and serving the elderly?
PrayerThank God for the changes he has already made in some of these areas, and ask him to demonstrate his love through you in the areas that still need work. This way you can practice making your life a living sacrifice.