Archive for September 12th, 2019

Romans 12:1

In Romans 12:1 Paul appeals to us to live fully for God. It requires an act of the will. God calls us to make a choice about the way that we live for Him. He is talking to all the believers and begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them. He reminds us that we do this because of the mercy shown to us by God. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Those who don’t know Christ try to achieve mercy through sacrifice. But for the believer, sacrifice is the response to mercy.  Because of God’s mercy we respond with obedience.

Paul has already explained a number of God’s mercies to us as shared by Guzik:

  • Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin
  • Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ
  • Placed under grace, not law
  • Giving the Holy Spirit to live within
  • Promise of help in all affliction
  • Assurance of a standing in God’s election
  • Confidence of coming glory
  • Confidence of no separation from the love of God
  • Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

In light of all this mercy – past, present, and future – Paul begs us to present your bodies a living sacrifice.

It is best to see the body here as a reference to our entire being. Whatever we say about our spirit, soul, flesh, and mind, we know that they each live in our bodies. When we give the body to God, the soul and spirit go with it. Present your bodies means that God wants you, not just your work. You may do all kinds of work for God, but never give Him your self. That won’t get us into heaven. Salvation is not earned by good works or doing good deeds. Salvation comes through faith in Christ, which in turn creates the desire within us to become obedient to His will and Word. And that obedience means that we need to present our bodies to God – we are no longer in the driver seat but are His vessel to use in His plan for His world!

But it is more than just presenting our bodies as a sacrifice.  Paul says we need to be a living sacrifice. People in Paul’s time knew all about sacrifice. But his request is different – to be a living sacrifice for a couple reasons:

  • The sacrifice is living because it is brought alive to the altar
  • The sacrifice is living because it stays alive at the altar; it is ongoing

Not just living, but holy and acceptable to God too. The holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit in building holiness into our life. As we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities. And all this is how we truly worship God.  He’s paid for us so we’re already His. We need to realize the mercy and grace and live for Him as a way to worship!

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