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. Chapter 12.

Christian behaviour

The New Life in Christ

1 THEREFORE, MY BROTHERS. I implore you by God's mercy to offer your very selves to him: a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for his acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart. [Or: ... acceptance, for such is the worship which you, as rational creatures, should offer.] 2 Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature thus transformed. Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

3 In virtue of the gift that God in his grace has given me I say to everyone among you: do not be conceited or think too highly of yourself; but think your way to a sober estimate based on the measure of faith that God has dealt to each of you. 4 For just as in a single human body there are many limbs and organs, all with different functions, 5 so all of us, united with Christ, form one body, serving individually as limbs and organs to one another.

6 The gifts we possess differ as they are allotted to us by God's grace, and must be exercised accordingly: the gift of inspired utterance, for example, in proportion to a man's faith; 7 or the gift of administration, in administration. A teacher should employ his gift in teaching, 8 and one who has the gift of stirring speech should use it to stir his hearers. If you give to charity, give with all your heart; if you are a leader, exert yourself to lead; if you are helping others in distress, do it cheerfully.

Rules of the Christian Life

9 Love in all sincerity, loathing evil and clinging to the good. 10 Let love for our brotherhood breed warmth of mutual affection. Give pride of place to one another in esteem.

11 With unflagging energy, in ardour of spirit, serve the Lord. [Some witnesses read: meet the demands of the hour.]

12 Let hope keep you joyful; in trouble stand firm; persist in prayer.

13 Contribute to the needs of God's people, and practise hospitality.

14 Call down blessings on your persecutors-blessings, not curses.

15 With the joyful be joyful, and mourn with the mourners.

16 Care as much about each other as about yourselves. Do not be haughty, but go about with humble folk. Do not keep thinking how wise you are.

17 [ Pr.3.4. ] Never pay back evil for evil. Let your aims be such as all men count honourable. 18 If possible, so far as it is lies with you, live at peace with all men. 19 [ Dt.32.35. ] My dear friends, do not seek revenge, but leave a place for divine retribution; for there is a text which reads, 'Justice is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.' 20 [ Pr.25.21-22. ] But there is another text: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; by doing this you will heap live coals on his head.' 21 Do not let evil conquer you, but use good to defeat evil.

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