As I was studying Romans 12 yesterday, lo and behold, there is a chiastic structure embedded in the chapter. Well, Paul was a Hebrew scholar and a Torah scholar, but more than that, the Holy Spirit is placing His thumbprint of authorship on the book of Romans, even as He inspired Paul in what to write.
Here is what I found:
1A: Rom 12:1-2, Be a living sacrifice, not conformed to the world but to God’s will;
1B: Rom 12:3-5, Walk in humility;
CENTRAL AXIS: Rom 12:6-15, The gifts;
2B: Rom 12:16, Walk in humility;
2A: Rom 12:17-21, The world’s way contrasted with God’s way (will).
1) Prophecy, 12:6; exhortation for that gift: 12:9 “Let love be without hypocrisy …”
2) Ministry, 12:7, exhortation for that gift: 12:10 “Be kindly affectionate toward one another …”
3) Teaching, 12:7, exhortation for teachers: 12:11 “Not lagging in diligence …”
4) Exhortation, 12:8, exhortation for exhorters: 12:12 “Rejoicing in hope …”
5) Giving, 12:8, exhortation for givers: 12:13 “Distributing to the needs of the saints …”
6) Leading, 12:8, exhortation for leaders: 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you …”
7) Mercy, 12:8, exhortation for that gift: 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice …”
The instruction about serving in your gift (which is the topic of the chapter, giving our lives in service to God as an acceptable sacrifice), is wrapped around, first, an instruction to not be haughty or think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We can think, because we have this gift, whatever it is, that we are so important. Well, we are important to the Body and to God’s plan. But because of Him, not because of us! So never take the cover of humility off of our service in the gifts! Then the package of the gifts, wrapped in humility, is again wrapped in the wrapping of knowing what the will of the Lord is. And not only knowing it with our minds, but living according to it!
So, so many think that because they operate in a certain gift by the Spirit, that if they fudge in their personal holiness here or there, what does it matter? God is using them, isn’t He? But the Spirit is here teaching us, that once we have wrapped our service in the gifts in humility, then it needs to be wrapped again in knowing and living the will of God, which can never be discarded!
In so many ways, throughout God’s Word, the Lord shows us that His Word and His Spirit are in harmony with each other, and that both are necessary! That they compliment each other and one cannot be properly effective without the other!
I just LOVE God’s Word! It is so beautiful in every aspect!