THE PRACTICE OF THE BODY LIFE
The last main section of Romans is chapters twelve through sixteen. Why do we have to be regenerated and conformed to Christ’s image? It is to make us the members of the Body of Christ. All of the items mentioned in the first eight chapters plus the selection of grace in the following three chapters are for the purpose to have a Body for Christ.
The last section of this book is the section of the Body life. If we read these five chapters carefully, it may seem that only chapter thirteen has a little to say about the Body life; however, something more follows concerning the Body. Chapters fourteen and fifteen tell us especially how to receive one another as members; this is something for the Body life. Furthermore, the last part of chapter fifteen tells us how to take care of the needs of other members, how to communicate and contribute something to supply the needs of the members in other parts of the earth; this is also a part of the Body life. Although the last chapter, Romans 16, may appear to have little to do with the Body life, it is full of the Body life. The entire chapter displays the real and practical Body life.
Presenting Our Bodies
In this last section of Romans, there are a number of important terms. First, we must present our bodies (12:1). This is not only a consecration of our mind, will, intention, and heart but a consecration of our bodies. It is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. There are two bodies mentioned in this chapter. When we present our bodies, we realize the Body of Christ. If we love our body, then His Body, the church, suffers. However, if we present our bodies as a sacrifice, His Body will be built up. We must offer our bodies for His Body’s sake. For the church life, the Body life, there is the need of a bodily consecration. We should offer ourselves definitely, materially, and bodily to the Lord. However, if we preserve our bodies for ourselves, then His Body will suffer. In order to build up and care for His Body, we must give our body over to Him by presenting our body.
Being Transformed in Our Soul by the Renewing of Our Mind
The second matter mentioned in this section is transformation by the renewing of the mind (v. 2). This is something involving our soul. First we need to present our body, and second our soul must be transformed. The mind is a part of the soul. Regeneration has already been accomplished in our spirit, the center of our being, but what we need now is for our soul to be transformed. The Spirit, who is indwelling our spirit, is saturating the part of our being surrounding our spirit as the center in order to transform the soul.
The three parts of man—body, soul, and spirit—are involved here. First, when we practice the church life, the first step that we must take is to present our bodies. However, this is not all. After we present our bodies, our soul needs to be dealt with, so the second thing that we should do is to allow our soul to be transformed. Our mind, our thoughts, and our way of thinking especially have to be transformed. Otherwise, we will not be able to understand what the church life is, and we may even damage the church life. The presenting of our bodies and the transformation of our soul, especially the mind, are the necessary steps for us to practice the Body life.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)