By Sylvester Hassell
In the longest and most important of all his letters, the Apostle Paul, as usual, after setting forth the fundamental principles of gospel truth – salvation of lost sinners by the free and sovereign grace of God, according to His eternal purpose, by the atoning death of His incarnate Son and the renewing power of His Holy Spirit, manifested by their heart-felt repentance for their sins and their living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior, – does not command them like Moses, but lovingly entreats them, as brethren, because of their blessed experience of these wonderful mercies of God, to offer themselves, their bodies containing their spirits made alive by His Spirit of life, light, and love dwelling in them, as sacrifices, holy (unblemished), acceptable unto God (through the mediation of Christ), which is their reasonable (or becoming and spiritual) service; and he adds “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove (or manifest in your conduct) the will of God, which is good, and acceptable, and perfect” – the holy love of God in your hearts, which is good for you and for others, and pleasing to God, and perfect (impossible to be made better). And he tells, in this and the following chapters, what he means by non-conformity to this world – to the sinful habits of the unregenerate world of mankind. They were to earnestly seek, by prayer and meditation and reading the Scriptures and attendance upon the ministrations of the gospel, – humility, as they had nothing but what God had given them; and the loving service of others, according to their gifts; preaching, ministration, teaching, exhortation (or consolation), contributions, diligence in gospel discipline, mercifulness with cheerfulness, sincere or unfeigned love, abhorrence of wrong, adherence to right, humble and kindly love and honor in one another, activity in business, fervency in spirit, serving the Lord, hopefulness, patience, prayerfulness, kindness and hospitality (especially to the saints), blessing instead of cursing others, sympathy with the rejoicing and the sorrowing, like-mindedness, condescension to the lowly, a sense of your own lack of wisdom, honesty, forgiveness, peacefulness, over-coming evil with good, submission to civil rulers, rendering to all their dues, owing no one anything but love to one another, loving others as ourselves, harming no one, honesty, temperance, and Christ-likeness, forbearance towards others in all slight matters or customs and in all doubtful concerns. Such is the perfect law of liberty which Christ and His Apostles enjoins upon us, and which His spirit writes in our hearts. If it were unselfishly obeyed, this world would be a delightful and heavenly place. Let us, by Divine Grace, quit following sinful and foolish men, and follow our holy and wise Savior.
Williamston, N. C., May 1924