“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”
I believe to truly understand all that is being communicated to us in this
verse there are a few important foundational things we need to define. First we need to define a term and then we will need to look at the context of this powerful verse. We are instructed to give to the necessity of the saints. What is a saint? If we do not know who a saint is how will be able to give to them? First, a Biblical saint is not someone that is pronounced to be a saint by the church after they die nor does any man have the right or ability to define who a saint is and who is not a saint. Only God has the right to do this.
According to Strong’s concordance the word saint used in this verse means: sacred or blameless. Who then is a saint? How is it possible for us to be sacred and blameless? God calls us to be saints but there is no way that we can be blameless and sacred in ourselves. There is only One that is sacred and One that is truly blameless His name is Jesus Christ. Our best efforts at imitating Jesus Christ and trying to act saintly through religious, godly seeming performances is empty and fruitless.
The only way for us to become saints is for us to be made one with Jesus Christ. Through His life, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ, made a way for us to become sons of God. The Son of God became the Son of man to make us into sons of God! There is nothing of our natural life that is saintly and therefore for us to become saints and sons of God, our natural life had to die. In Galatians 2:20 we find out that as believers in Christ we have been crucified with Christ! When Christ died, we died. When Christ was resurrected we were resurrected in Him! Our natural flesh life and all its best effort to be saintly died in Christ at the cross and now Jesus Christ lives inside of us! In 2 Peter 1:4 we see that we have been made partakers of the divine nature in Christ Jesus! If you have believed in Jesus Christ and been born from above you now have a divine nature! As believers in Jesus Christ we literally have God’s nature because He lives within us by His Spirit and this is what makes us saints! Hallelujah!
This glorious truth of us being made into saints and sons of God through oneness with Jesus Christ is so important and yet difficult for us to receive because we have put confidence in ourselves and believed so many lies of the enemy. The second verse of Romans 12 tells us that we need to have our minds renewed. I believe the greatest way for us to renew our minds is through meditation on God’s Word. I would encourage you to meditate on and pray over the following verses to aid you in receiving the glorious reality of our identity in Christ: Galatians 2:20, Eph. 2:19 1 John 3:1,2 Peter 1:4, 1 Cor. 6:17, Heb. 2:10.
Now that we have begun to see what a saint is hopefully we will have a better understanding of the meaning of this verse in Romans that instructs us to distribute to the necessity of the saints; for if we have no understanding of what a saint is, this will be a meaningless command to us. The second thing I want us to look at is the context of this verse in Romans 12. The verse is actually part of a list and to get the correct frame of reference and context of the verse, so that we can even begin to see what the verse is talking about, we have to look at the beginning of the list. The list begins with these words: “So we, being many, are one body in Christ and every one members one of another.”
I believe the grounds for us to begin to understand how to be given to hospitality and how to distribute to the necessity of the saints is for God to reveal to us the unity of the believers in Christ. What you unites the saints together? Only Christ! The grounds for unity in the body of Christ is that every person be IN Christ! The ground of unity is not having the same ethnicity, it is not adhering to the same creed, it is not being part of the same denomination, it is not having the same eschatology, the ground of unity for the true church is Christ and Christ is not divided! (see 1 Corinthians 1:13)
If you are in Christ you are a member of His body if you are not in Christ you are not a member of His body. If you are joined to the Head you are part of the body. Our unity as believers is a unity of sharing the same Life. The reason your body functions the way it is supposed to is because your body is joined to your head and shares the same life as your head. The reason we as believers are able to function as Christ’s body is because we all share the Life of the Head! If we do not see that the ground for oneness in the body is being joined to Christ we will not be able to fully function as the body and we will not be able to distribute to the necessity of the saints.
Scripture says that the early church had all things in common and that they gave to each other as each one had need. (See Acts 2:44-47) It also says that they continued daily (not just one day a week) in the temple and also in the breaking of bread from house to house. It almost sounds like they were given to hospitality and that they distributed to the necessity of the saints. I believe the only way that this kind of generosity, hospitality and unity is even possible is only through receiving the revelation that we have been made saints in Christ Jesus and that we are one with the other saints because we share the same LIFE!
I think the main reason we struggle to receive this truth about the body of Christ is because we have so rarely seen it lived out. May the Lord grant us revelation of first our oneness with Him and then the grounds of our unity with other believers being only Christ so that God can have His desire to have a corporate, united, spotless, blameless, sacred, undivided, expression on this earth through His saints!