“Everyday” Rules For God’s Children
“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 [spiritual-ASV] service” (Romans 12:1). Paul begins this very familiar passage by pleading with Christians to live daily for God upon the grounds of the immeasurable grace and mercy that has been shown to us. One great proof of God’s love is that He sent His only Son to die for us, then gave us a choice whether or not to follow Him, knowing that most people would not obey. The illustration used here, “present your bodies a living sacrifice,” is not meant to contrast the sacrifices of the Old Testament, since no Jew ever offered a dead animal as a sacrifice to God (Robertson L. Whiteside). Instead the plea is for followers of Christ to enter their living bodies into selfless service to the Lord. Every command from God requires our bodies, so those bodies must be “holy” and set apart for devotion to Him. We often stress, and rightly so, the need to offer authorized acts of worship to God. But it is equally important in God’s eyes that we offer our bodies and our lives as the kind of daily sacrifice for which He has asked.
A key component of being “acceptable” to God is given in the next verse. “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” (Romans 12:2). Part of our “spiritual service” to the Lord is to make sure that there is distinction between our lives and the sinful world around us. Christians are to be set apart like a “city that is set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14). No, the point is not to act a peculiar as possible at all costs, but to let your dedication to the Lord be obvious to those who see you, so that they might “glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This kind of life will only belong to those who begin by “renewing” their minds according to the will of God. Thinking right is an essential beginning to doing right. Does your life reflect the teachings of Romans 12:1 & 2?