Romans 12:3-9 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Grace has three major aspects. One aspect of grace is “unmerited favor” which removes the penalty of sin for all who repent and believe the gospel, grace that pardons (Mark 1:15; Ephesians 2:8-9). Another aspect of grace is the grace we have to overcome sin’s power, grace to obey (2 Corinthians 12:9). The third aspect of grace is being equipped with spiritual gifts to serve one another, grace to serve (1 Peter 4:10; Romans 12:3, 6).
Paul is teaching the Roman saints (Romans 1:7) to remember they are all a part of the Body of Christ with different functions. All are needed for the Body to accomplish its purposes to seek and save the lost and to build each other to maturity in Christ (Luke 19:10; Ephesians 4:15-16). The Roman local church was having problems with one part of the Body rejecting other parts. When our physical body does that we lose much of our effectiveness to function according to our purposes. When the Body of Christ, the local church, begins to reject parts of the Body, the local church loses much of its effectiveness to function according to its purposes.
Each person in a local Body of Christ needs to know they are an important part, needed for a healthy body. Each person needs to think according to the truth (“with sober judgment”) and not think they are better and more needed than other parts of the Body. Each believer needs to operate according to the grace he/she has been given by God according to the measure of faith God has assigned him/her. Just as a hand knows what to do when sent a signal from the head, so each believer knows what to do when sent a signal from Christ. Believers may not know what their gift is called, but they still know how to function when given the signal by the Head, Jesus Christ. Paul has given us seven gifts people receive from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11) in our passage today. The believer with one of these gifts is motivated to serve in his/her gifted area. The manner we are to serve is with love (described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 5:2-3 and 2 John 6).
Are you serving the local church using your God-given grace? Begin to ask the Lord to help you function according to the grace given to you by God. Realize other believers depend on you, just as you depend on your hand or foot or mouth. Are you serving the local church with love? We need to serve the Body of Christ in love to build it up according to each person’s need. We don’t use our hand to jam a spoon with food into our mouth in a hurtful way, but feed ourselves with love. We should serve other parts of the Body with love so we don’t hurt them and tear them down, but rather build them up in love.