The Measure of Faith comes to work in this concept of the “weaker in faith” and the “stronger in faith”. Now here I’ll have to do some preliminary defense of my previous (and continued) position on the measure of faith. For in the sense that some people take it (this person has more God-give-faith-power and this person has less God-given-faith-power thus I have more God-given-faith-power then X or less then Y) it starts bolstering ourselves in an area that Paul says to think soberly about. But the fact is we really don’t know the faith in another person: that’s an impossibility. All we know is the actions of another person.
This Measure of Faith also becomes useful in dealing with the enemies (be they Christian or Non) of a believer. For when a person understands that they were a God Hating Idolater for whom Christ died and God justified and promised to glorify then a believer can become an advertisement of mercy for anyone.
Present your bodies not someone else’s body. And the whole entire body, not just the grumbling part or the angry part, but all of it to be offered as a sacrifice.
I’m reminded of two examples from the Old Testament. One is from Leviticus 1 where the offering is brought to the Lord and consumed on the altar as a well-pleasing sacrifice: a soothing aroma to the Lord. The entire thing is consumed in the fire and is pleasing to the Lord but that’s easy for a dead animal: after all, the thing is alive till it gets to the tabernacle then someone slits its throat and has its corpse on the altar. Living Sacrifices have a problem with staying on hot altars, or so the saying goes.
But then we have the second example of Numbers chapter 8 where the Levites are chosen by God to do special work. They remember their past: they’ve been rescued from the bondage of Egypt and delivered from the power of Pharaoh. They have crossed the great divide of the Sea and passed from one side through the other and they were being led to an inheritance and here they stood: a people freed by God and now His. They were cleansed, they were reminded of their salvation and they were told to serve Him in the tent of meeting.
I beseech you says some Bibles. Others say I urge you. In Greek the word can be used to earnestly appeal, invite or even summon together: but in context it is an action word set in the present pointed at a person and demanding something.
Two things here; firstly you usually don’t ask (or urge) for something that isn’t happening. For example I no one has ever told me “Rey, I urge you; I beseech you. No, I beg you–please have some pizza!” You don’t need to ask; I will eat it.
I’ve spent many a superbowl Sunday with friends with no knowledge of the game but there in thanksgiving of God for enabling men to design. And I would happily cheer for both teams raising my pizza-greasy hands: touchdown!
So Paul is urging for something that isn’t being done.
Secondly, sometimes requests questions (especially the urging ones) sound as if they’re coming from a position of weakness. Like when I kept asking my wife if I could get an iPod–I urged, I beseeched but I had no power over the situation: she wouldn’t yield.
But Paul isn’t some poor Hebrew soul, begging esteemed Roman gentiles citizens who look down their classical noses . This is not the beggarly urgings of a weaker individualâ€”this is the strong, demanded, request of the one set apart as an apostle, the servant of Jesus Christ (Head of Creation ), to carry the Gospel of the Eternal, Omnipotent, Righteous, Merciful and Living God. Snap to attention and listen!
So therefore, by the mercies of God Paul the apostle strongly demands for this thing to be done.
Sometimes verses like Romans 12:1 fall into the Christian canyon of sanctified bumper-sticker sayings. Sometimes it’s a call to arms for hormone-crazed teens (or so youth teachers have often taught): in light of God being a good God, present your bodies to himâ€”undefiled by immorality. Other times it’s phrased in such a way as if it were obligatory payback; kind of how you treat a good boss.