When I was a student at Columbia Bible College, I remember one of my professors (Dr. Bill Crabb) making the following statement: "If your theology isn't practical, it's probably not biblical." At the time, I wholeheartedly agreed with him, but for all the wrong reasons. Now, I still agree with Dr. Crabb, but for all the right reasons. Let me explain.
By the time I sat down in Crabb's class - The Psychology of Justification - I was tired of all the theological theorizing and philosophizing and I was ready for something practical, something concrete, something I could really use. I wanted to know how to actually minister to real people in the real world. Although I loved theology, I was tired of the endless debates over what seemed like doctrinal minutia. Therefore, when my professor made his bold declaration, my response was, "Finally!" Then, he opened up his bible and started reading from Romans 1 and blew my mind!
"If your theology isn't practical, it's probably not biblical."
What Dr. Crabb meant and what I missed was that, we need to "do something" with our theology. It cannot just sit on a shelf, or be the topic of debate in a Bible College dorm room. The truth we hold to should impact every area of our life. It should be the north star that guides our path, the anchor for our soul, the foundation on which we build our whole life (insert your favorite metaphor here!).
Simply put, in light of who God is and everything He has done in this world and for us (Biblical Theology), we should surrender absolutely EVERYTHING to Him as an act of worship (Practical Theology). Interestingly, that's exactly what Paul says in Romans 12:1.
(Romans 12:1) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
In the previous 11 chapter Paul has given us a clear view of God's mercy. The book of Romans is Paul's Doctrinal Magnum opus. Paul uses it to give us a theological summary of what God has done and is doing to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory. By the time we get to chapter 12, you are ready to cry out: "How can I respond to a God this awesome? What can I say or do that would be a logical, practical, worthy expression of love to this great God who saves?"
Paul answers: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters (believers), in view of God’s mercy (Romans 1-11), to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice (All of you), holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper (the Greek word logikos - meaning logical, practical, reasonable) worship.
Well alright then, but how?
(Romans 12:2-3) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(12:3) For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
(12:6-8) Use your gifts to serve others!
(12:9) Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
(12:10) Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
(12:11) Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
(12:12) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(12:13) Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
(12:14) Bless those who persecute you.
(12:15) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
(12:16) Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(12:17) Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
(12:18) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
(12:19) Do not take revenge.
(12:21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If you belive Romans 1-11, do Romans 12!
BOBBY PRUITT | Lead Pastor
Bobby was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. He is the youngest of 13 children and was the first believer in his family. He graduated from Columbia Bible College and served in churches in North & South Carolina before coming to Texas in 1994. Bobby and Amy have been married since November of 1990 and have 3 children (Riley, Beau, and Emma Grace).