You may notice an oversight in this first part: after referencing verse three, I failed to explore its meaning. Part two addresses this mistake. Please do not let it distact you here. 

Anchors may be the least thought about, most important component of a building. In tornado or flood, the best built home on the strongest foundation will suffer tragic destruction without adequate anchoring. The same applies to spiritual construction. We can be sure that Jesus Christ, as the Master Builder of His church, has provided adequate “anchor” between structure and foundation. One such anchor can be found in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

I recently discovered something about Romans that many of you might already know. The first eleven chapters contain Paul’s theological foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The remaining five chapters then describe the church structure that Christ is building. This being the case, we can understand and explore the first eight verses of Romans 12 as the metaphorical anchor that secures the structure of the church to its theological foundation.

From a process perspective, this portion of Paul’s letter serves as a transition stage, containing the personal and corporate worldview, attitudes, and commitments required to become the church Paul envisions – the manifested reality of his most comprehensive theology. Moving from Paul’s revelation of the gospel to its application, one must pass through this mandatory stage. It is, therefore, critical for us to understand how to apply this anchor in our personal lives and in the spheres of influence entrusted to us.

Generally, this passage presents two perspectives. The first three verses speak to the individual; the remainder to the church in fellowship. This order seems important – individual application working its way into the corporate body. That is not to suggest that the former can be accomplished outside of community encouragement and accountability. As Paul states in verses four and five, we are members of one body and members of one another.

In this article, we will focus on the personal application of the Romans anchor.

Personal Application

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

It should come as no surprise that the anchor between Christian theology and practice is our participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). We have been crucified with Christ in order that we might find our life in Him (Galatians 2:20). It is only in Him that we are holy and acceptable to God.

Furthermore, this anchor includes our reasonable service. This presents a critical distinction: God does not want our bodies sacrificed to Him; His Son has already served that purpose. God is offering us the opportunity to be set apart for His glorifying work (i.e., holy) as the instruments of His sacrificial love to others. In fact, this is a good summary statement for the remainder of Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Abiding in Christ and surrendered to the Father’s love, we are commanded and empowered to live in the world while resisting conformity with it (John 17:15). In regards to the subject at hand, the transforming renewal of our minds serves two purposes. First, it reinforces our resistance to worldly conformity. The renewed mind holds fast to, and enjoys being, crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14).

Secondly, the renewal of our mind positions us to test and know the will of God. This is no small matter. As we are transformed into the image of the glory of the Lord, by the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18), we more readily seek the Father’s will as the instruments of His love (John 5:30).

In practice, we participate with the Holy Spirit by reckoning the foundational truths as true for ourselves. This is an ongoing process that requires several spiritual disciplines: prayer, Bible study, taking every thought captive, etc. In fact, one might argue that the spiritual disciplines are anchors themselves, given by God to establish and guide the connection of our religious practice to strong theological foundation.

In conclusion, it is important to note that our personal transition from theology to practice requires the involvement of others in the Body of Christ. As we will discover in an upcoming article, we have been given prophets, ministers, teachers, etc. to help us along the way. It is impossible to be a part of the church Jesus Christ is building without being in fellowship with it. So…

God bless you with courage and sacrificial love for strong fellowship in the church His Son is building.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob