So how many of your “resolutions” have you kept? Turning over a new page just doesn’t seem to work, does it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start with a new slate with the assurance that it would stay that way? What a relief not to carry guilt and remorse every hour of the day!
That’s a sad situation, but that seemed to be the choice the Galatians were making. Paul, the writer of the Epistle, wanted them to experience the love of Christ — the truth to set them free. They were so used to bondage that it almost felt safe to them. They didn’t know how to enjoy the freedom of salvation. It was hard to understand that they could live righteous and holy lives because of Christ’s divine work in the heart.
That still seems to be true of people wanting to serve God. They just don’t get it.
A TV commercial shows a man seeking a solution to his financial circumstances. He is granted a “green line” to help him stay on track. As he leaves his source of help, the line rolls out before him, ostensibly leading him through life and helping him make right choices. As he takes a few steps, a distraction intrudes on his path. To his right is a beautiful car — much to be desired. As he turns and looks, a lady steps out and says, “Stay on the line.” He smiles, turns and continues on in the right direction.” Guidance was given and temptation was averted ... as long as he stayed on the line.
Paul in Romans 12 gave guidelines for Christian neighbors. He shows how that righteousness should be put into practice in every relationship. First of all, in verses 1 and 2, he tells believers what their relationship with God should be — giving oneself completely to God is a “reasonable” service.
Paul goes on to say to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed. This is pretty tough to do. In fact, a person can’t just make resolutions or turn over a new page and magically receive a new outlook on life.
“Transformed” comes from the Greek word, “metamorphoo,” which means “to change, transfigure or transform.” This can only happen through entering into the right relationship with God. The child of God no longer fits into the world’s mold, but he lives to please his Father.
In Romans 12: 17-21, Paul lays down a few rules in relationships with unbelievers: Don’t repay evil with evil; be honest; live peaceably, don’t take vengeance; and give a wide berth to wrath — you can’t act sensibly when you’re out of control — and help your enemy. “Stay on the line.”
Then he simply gives the result — goodness will overcome evil. Living in the love of Jesus Christ is the way of a Christian. It’s the way we “stay on the line.”