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John Wesley's notes on the Epistle: Romans 12:1-5


1  I exhort you - St. Paul uses to suit his exhortations to the doctrines he has been delivering. So here the general use from the whole is contained in the first and second verses. The particular uses follow, from the third verse to the end of the Epistle. By the tender mercies of God - The whole sentiment is derived from Rom. i. - v. The expression itself is particularly opposed to "the wrath of God," Rom 1:18. It has a reference here to the entire gospel, to the whole economy of grace or mercy, delivering us from "the wrath of God," and exciting us to all duty. To present - So Rom 6:13; 16:19; now actually to exhibit before God. Your bodies - That is, yourselves; a part is put for the whole; the rather, as in the ancient sacrifices of beasts, the body was the whole. These also are particularly named in opposition to that vile abuse of their bodies mentioned, Rom 1:24. Several expressions follow, which have likewise a direct reference to other expressions in the same chapter. A sacrifice - Dead to sin and living - By that life which is mentioned, Rom 1:17; 6:4, &c. Holy - Such as the holy law requires, Rom 7:12. Acceptable - Rom 8:8. Which is your reasonable service - The worship of the heathens was utterly unreasonable, Rom 1:18, &c; so was the glorying of the Jews, Rom 2:3, &c. But a Christian acts in all things by the highest reason, from the mercy of God inferring his own duty. 

2  And be not conformed - Neither in judgment, spirit, nor behaviour. To this world - Which, neglecting the will of God, entirely follows its own. That ye may prove - Know by sure trial; which is easily done by him who has thus presented himself to God. What is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God - The will of God is here to be understood of all the preceptive part of Christianity, which is in itself so excellently good, so acceptable to God, and so perfective of our natures. 

3  And I say - He now proceeds to show what that will of God is. Through the grace which is given to me - He modestly adds this, lest he should seem to forget his own direction. To every one that is among you - Believers at Rome. Happy, had they always remembered this! The measure of faith - Treated of in the first and following chapters, from which all other gifts and graces flow. 

5  So we - All believers. Are one body - Closely connected together in Christ, and consequently ought to be helpful to each other.