Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Chapter 12

Living the Spirit-Controlled Life

1 Now that I have unburdened myself concerning my fellow Jews, I would like to return to the subject of walking in the Spirit and Christian living. In view of what I concluded in chapter eight regarding the unfailing love of God, I plead with you that you dedicate yourselves unselfishly to God’s service — living lives that are pleasing to Him as Christ did.

2 Don’t be influenced by worldly practices or secular humanism or give in to peer pressure, but instead constantly remind yourselves as Christians that you have died to the ways of the world and your one goal in life is to live for Christ, doing what He wants you to do. In other words, let God’s Spirit re-mold you into His likeness. 3 This counsel comes from God Himself whose servant I am. He wants every believer to be humble, thinking and acting honestly in all matters, fulfilling His purpose for each one according to the gift of the Holy Spirit.

4 For just as the human body consists of different limbs and organs, each having its own particular function, yet together making up one person, 5 so we Christians, who through faith have become one with Christ, represent one spiritual body with each member having a particular function, yet together we are vitally linked to each other as one body in Christ.

6 Consequently, for the church to be spiritually healthy, the spiritual gifts each has received need to be put into practice. If preaching is your gift, proclaim God’s message accordingly. 7 If your gift is serving others or administration, concentrate on serving others or on administration. You may be blessed with the gift of teaching, then let that be your field of labor for the church. 8 Another may have the gift of encouraging others. Put that ability into good use. Or one may be blessed with a generous heart, then give liberally to thc needs of thc church. Should your gift be that of leadership, exert yourself to lead. If helping others in need is your calling, then be a helper and do it cheerfully.

Characteristics of a True Christian

9 What I am saying is that the unconditional, self-emptying, agape love of God manifested in Christ’s holy history, now flows into you through the Holy Spirit, and this must be witnessed through your Christian behavior [John 13:34, 35]. This means we must hate and avoid evil and uphold and do good [Tit. 2:14]. 10 For example, in dealings with one another let unselfish love be manifested, and let us genuinely be considerate of others, giving no room for pride and conceit.

11 Do not be lazy or sponge on others, but work hard and diligently serve the Lord Jesus Christ. 12 Let the blessed hope keep you always joyful in the Lord and if you have to suffer in any way or put up with trials, endure these things with patience. Keep close to your Saviour through habitual prayer, for He longs to have fellowship with you.

13 Always help fellow believers who are in genuine need and practice hospitality with strangers. 14 And in harmony with Christ’s teaching, pray for those who are against you and make your life miserable [Matt. 5:43-40]. I know this is contrary to the inclinations of our sinful nature, but we must be controlled by the Spirit, asking God to bless our enemies and not curse them. 15 Since we are one in Christ, learn to rejoice with believers who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping [1 Cor. 12:25-27].

16 Practice no discrimination or favoritism in your dealings with one another and socialize with all in the church, not just the prominent or well-to-do believers; in other words, don’t be snobbish. 17 If someone has done you wrong, do not retaliate and say, “I don’t care what others say about it.” Your public behavior must not, in any way, bring disgrace to God’s church or His cause. 18 And, as far as possible, live peaceably with your neighbors.

19 Do not ever take revenge on anyone who has unjustly treated you, but leave the matter in God’s hands, for He said: “Vengeance is mine; I the Lord, will justly repay those who have wronged you” [Deut. 32:35]. 20 Instead, do the very opposite, just as Scripture advises: “If your enemy is starving, feed him. If he happens to be thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, he will feel so ashamed of his behavior that he will regret the way he treated you” [Prov. 25:21, 22]. 21 Finally, do not let all the evil you have to put up with get you down, but overcome evil with good.
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