Have you have ever purchased an electrical tool like a saw? When you get it home and open the box the first thing you notice and are confronted with are the safety warnings. Wear proper safety attire. Use caution. Do not operate under the influence. Never be careless.
As we move in to Romans 12:3, Paul is bestowing much of the same safety warnings in regard to what he is going to discuss in the following verses. He starts like a shop teacher might start a class teaching how to use a table saw. He holds up both hands and shows that he has all ten fingers. This is not because he has magical fingers or that they are made out of stone or metal. No, it is by grace that he was properly taught how to use the tools and by grace that he continued to practice them in accordance with that teaching.
Paul continues: do not get careless. As soon as you start thinking you are better than you are, injuries happen. You get cocky. You get sloppy. To take shortcuts. You also need to not be too timid or too cautious. The tools are to be used boldly and timid use can also cause mishaps.
Most importantly, Paul warns, do not use these tools under the influence of sin. Paul calls this, “sober judgment”. This is a really big deal because, at heart, temptation is another word for distraction. Distraction and safety never go hand in hand and temptation always is a direction off the correct and proper path.
This teaching is not from Paul. Paul received his training and certification as an instructor by God and it is through God and for God that he gives it freely “to every one of you.” We receive it also from, through and for God, with faith that was distributed to God so that we might be able to learn and receive the tools that are to follow.
by the grace given to him. Paul can relate. He has learned this lesson through the grace of God and is, in turn, passing it forward to his brothers in Rome
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. We can think God needs us or needs something from us. We can tell ourselves I’m doing this for God or I don’t want to let God down. Everything came from God to begin with, including all earthly wealth and time. Also, we aren’t holding God up that we could let Him down.
Even faith in God is a gift from God. We don’t earn it, we didn’t achieve it on our own, it has been distributed to each believer by God. Like any other living thing, we are tasked to nurture it and grow it, but we didn’t create it.
Our evaluation of ourself is based on our relationship with God. We recognize the equalizer of our collective position in reference to God, whereas, if we set the benchmark only in others we may feel superior.