In Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul wrote —
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Do you believe that God asking each of us to give our total being over to Him and living our lives just for Him in light of what He has done for us, is reasonable?
He left the wonders of heaven just for us.
He came into our world with the limitations of a little baby, just for us.
About age 30, He began His itinerant ministry, going from place to place to prepare people to receive the good news about salvation.
Ultimately, He was crucified on a cross and He died to atone for our sins.
Three days later, He was resurrected showing His power over death and the grave.
After 40 days, He ascended to heaven where He now is actively engaged in making intercession for us.
Is each of us doing the reasonable thing in light of what He has done for us, and investing our lives just for Him? The way we think is very important as to whether we will do the reasonable thing.
I am reminded of the missionary who said, “If Jesus Christ be God, and He died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
That seems reasonable, doesn’t it? He did for each of us what we could never do for ourselves. He made an atonement for our sins so that we could be forgiven and accepted into God’s family. (Ephesians 1:6)
Let’s do a little exegesis from Romans 12:1-2, using the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It reads like this — “Therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God”
The Apostle Paul uses the indicative mode of speech to remind us of what God has done for us. He then changes to the imperative mode to tell us what our response should be as an ongoing expression of worship. Our reasonable response concerns the presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice. This month, I am beginning my 60th year of pastoral ministry! What a privilege it has been to serve the LORD these many years. I have never regretted surrendering my will and my body to Him at age 16.
God does not compel or coerce us as Christians to present our bodies as living sacrifices. Rather, He makes His appeal on the basis of God’s mercies – and believe me, they are many.
In our milk room, in our farmhouse, there was a simple wall hanging with the following message on it:
“Do not go anywhere you would not like to be found if Jesus should come today. Do not do anything you would not like to be doing if Jesus should come today. (And) Do not say anything you would not like to be saying if Jesus should come today.”
Every time I operated the milk separator, I saw that wall hanging and its message. The Holy Spirit used that as a means of guiding me in my choices and actions.
The Apostle says that our sacrifice should be living, holy, and acceptable.
Dr. John Phillips, in his commentary of Romans 12, has this to say about the “mercies of God.”
“God has saved us from sin, from its penalty and its power. He has saved us from self in all of its features and all its forms. He has overruled the destinies of nations. He has triumphed in His grace and multiplied His mercies. He has, as it were, besieged us with His mercies, brought them up against us in countless numbers, built the bulwarks of His grace against our souls, poured a ceaseless cannonade of kindness in and upon the breaches of our hearts. He has overwhelmed us with unmerited favor and carried all before Him the resistless arms of love.”
So, Paul says we should “present our bodies (our very lives) in light of or in accord with God’s mercies.”
It is the right thing to do.
It is the proper thing to do.
It is a practical thing to do.
It is the only possible thing to do.
It is the only fitting thing to do.
When we choose to thus respond to the mercies of God and determine to live all of our lives for the LORD, we experience an ongoing transformation that is pleasing to God and rewarding to us.
In Romans 12:2, Paul lists several ways in which the believer is transformed when he/she presents themselves without reservation to God.
1. We are changed morally – “Do not be conformed to this world.”
2. Such a person is changed mentally – “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
3. This person is changed motivationally — “That you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
In closing, Paul says, and I agree that God has a will for each of His followers. That will is good, it is acceptable and it is perfect.
Does your life line up with God’s will for you? Are you bringing your total life to Him as an expression of your love and worship?
To God be the glory,