A living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God

Posted by admin on 3 February 2013 in The Book of Romans |

Romans 12:1-2

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. 2 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.

# Majority of writing in this post is the result of my reading the article (Transformed: More Than Meets the Eye by Keith Krell).

I. Offer your body to God (1)

The word “Therefore” shows that Romans 12:1-2 is the conclusion of Romans chapter 1 – 11.

Paul neither commands nor demands but urges (exhorts) brothers and sisters as their brother like in a family.

in the view of God's mercy”. Chapter 1 – 11 were about God's mercy despite and contrary to our sinfulness. Responding to His mercy, “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” is 'reasonable' and 'proper' worship for us to do.

The expression 'offer', differently to 'surrender', implies a glad, happy, willing, joyous and spontaneous act.

Here there are 3 qualities of our sacrifice: living, holy and pleasing (acceptable)

  1. Living
    Jesus sacrificed His life for us. So it is proper for us to live for Him. This is 'living' sacrifice. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  2. Holy
    15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, 16)
  3. Pleasing (acceptable)
    In Genesis 4 God was pleased with Abel and his offering but was not pleased with Cain and his offering. Abel represents Jesus Christ. We are acceptable to God only through Jesus.

Practical guides1 to offer your body as a sacrifice (I agree with them!):

  • Resolve to make worship a priority. Worship is a Monday through Saturday lifestyle that doesn’t have to end on Sunday afternoon. Throughout the week you should worship the Lord and have your own private worship services. Determine today to present yourself as a sacrifice. Don’t put off this logical decision. Every morning declare, “Dear God, because of Jesus, I am Yours.”
  • Seek out ministry opportunities. Do some chores, run an errand, lend a hand. Take the extra time to make a visit. Pick up the phone and check on someone who is going through a struggle. Volunteer to help on a project that will show God’s grace to someone else. Look for ways to demonstrate your love for the Lord in practical ways. Why? Martin Luther once said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” The busier you are, the less likely you will be to give into your illegitimate bodily urges.
  • Commit yourself to physical exercise. Discipleship demands discipline. If you want to “present” your body, you need to subdue it. Most godly people who I respect are committed to physical exercise (e.g., walking, hiking, weightlifting, athletics). God wants all of you! This shouldn’t scare you because if you let God have your life He can do more with it than you can.

II. Renew your mind (2ab)

In verse 1, we learned “what” to offer: your body as a sacrifice. Now verse 2 teaches “how” to offer it: by renewing your mind

First, v2 begins with “what not to do”: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world”.

The pattern of this world excludes God and His truth. Morality is ignored and self-seeking is promoted. There are hidden traps and full of deceptions. If you don't actively and intentionally resist this age, you will be conformed. 

Second, v2 continues with “what to do”: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

How can you renew your mind? 

Practical guidelines2

  • Saturate yourself in godly thinking. Read God’s Word. But it is really more than just reading. It is a matter of absorbing and interacting with God's Word. When we read the Bible we must constantly be asking ourselves, “What does this mean for my daily life.” Saturating ourselves in godly thinking also means exposing ourselves to godly writers, teachers, and influences. We need to meet regularly with friends who share our commitment to Christ. We must work to expand our thinking so that we are not just one-dimensional believers.
  • Memorize Scripture. But you may object, “Memorization has never come easily for me.” “I’m too old; my mind left me a long time.” For what it’s worth, you can memorize Scripture. The great men and women I know who have been successful at this discipline have merely read various sections of Scripture over and over and the memorization took care of itself. You don’t need a Navigator’s Scripture Memory System. Just read and meditate on Scripture and watch how God hides it in your heart.
  • Slow down. It has been said that Americans have three idols: Size, Noise, and Speed! Worship runs in the opposite direction. It reminds us of our littleness. It reminds us to be still, and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). It reminds us that we need to wait upon the Lord. Today would you begin the discipline of renewing your mind by getting away from the hustle, bustle, and distraction of life? Turn off the TV, turn off the radio, turn off your cell phone, shut down your computer, and hear from God.

III. Conclusion(2c)3

Paul concludes that you are to offer your body and renew your mind so that you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The key word is “test and approve” (doximazo). Notice, Paul doesn’t speak of “finding” or “discovering” God’s will. He says that you can “prove” God’s will. However, the apostle is not dealing with questions such as: Should I get married? Where should I go to college? Should I buy a new house? Should I move to Seattle or to Portland? These questions are important, but they are secondary when it comes to God’s will. The “will of God” here deals with obedience to His general will. As you obey God’s revealed will, He may well unveil His specific will for your life. But if you refuse to obey His explicit moral will, there’s no point praying for God to reveal His specific, individual will for your life. If you obey the clear injunctions of this text, God’s will “finds” you!

God wants your body and your mind; He wants all of you. Is there anything or anyone that you are withholding from God? Is your marriage and family yielded to Him? Is your vocation His? What about your finances or hobbies? Will you present yourself to Him today and every day hereafter? If you will, your life will never be the same.

It is likely that when you were growing up you used to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school. The pledge is a reminder that you are a citizen of the United States. Romans 12:1-2 is the Christian Pledge of Allegiance. It serves as a reminder that you are a citizen of heaven. You belong to heaven. Will you worship the Lord today by pledging your allegiance to Him?

1[Reference]Transformed: More Than Meets the Eye by Keith Krell

2[Reference]Transformed: More Than Meets the Eye by Keith Krell

3[Reference]Transformed: More Than Meets the Eye by Keith Krell

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