Summary: Many Christians today are frustrated with the level of their success, not necessarily in business, finance, recreation or entertainment, but in their Christian lives. Paul gives a
“Life as a Sacrifice”
It is a sad reality that many Christians today are frustrated with the level of their success, not necessarily in business, finance, recreation or entertainment, but in their Christian lives. Many feel unfulfilled, unsuccessful in their Christian walk with God, not being able, as they might say, to “get more out of the Christian life”. Many “church hop” to try and find the solution to their dilemmas. Many, in spite of having all kinds of so-called “spiritual experiences”, still feel “empty” and unsatisfied, having tried to “get all they could get” out of God.
Regular Remembrance of God’s Marvelous Mercy
After 11 chuck-full chapters of God’s Grace, “Pastor” and Apostle Paul might tell believers in God’s Gracious Salvation to take a good look at Romans 12:1 for a prescription:
”Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
Paul might say: You may well be unhappy and unfulfilled because you have it backwards. The “unfulfilled Christian’s” solution is not in receiving more, but in giving more of what you have received.
Romans 12:1 isn’t an “off the cuff” comment that is going to offer instant relief: the comment comes from a seasoned Christian who has carefully examined the scriptures and knows what they say about God, Man, and Salvation. It comes from a person whom God has saved, seasoned and examined. He’s saying that the natural result, NOT for everybody, but in a person’s life who has been redeemed is that of Living Life in Regular Remembrance of God’s Marvelous Mercy. (If you haven’t been saved, God’s Mercy hasn’t even been revealed to you.)
The message we examined several weeks ago of God’s Mercy in Christ from Romans 11:29-32 was that ALL have received the death sentence, but NOT ALL been condemned. All have been disobedient and without faith. No one can “drum up” saving faith. All try to justify their own sinfulness. All try to find their own way of salvation, AND YET God HAS NOT condemned ALL, but has saved some, not because of their goodness or mercy but because of HIS mercy and grace.
That is why Paul can say: “Therefore or consequently, my fellow believers, I urge you, (parakaleo) I call you to walk alongside of, and “on account of” or “in view of” the mercies of God.” Live with the constant remembrance that your Life is only the result of God’s Mercy and gratitude for God’s mercy should be your reason for living.
God’s Mercy, Love and Grace should be your Life’s motivation: Live (do all things) on account of God’s Mercy. You wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t received His mercy. You wouldn’t have anything if you hadn’t received mercy. Romans 11:30 tells us: “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God (and were DEAD) have now received mercy.” If you continually remember His Great Mercy, it is impossible to complain if you are face to face with God’s compassion and comfort. “Therefore I urge you, family of God, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice.”
Living Life as a Sacrifice
1. What does Living Life as a Sacrifice actually look like? First of all, the obvious is that you are LIVING a LIFE. This week an older person said to me, “I wonder if he’s still alive a little.” We know that is “a little” impossible! You can’t be a little alive; it’s like being a little dead; either way, it doesn’t help you much. The Greek word for “present” means “to place beside”. We don’t place our bodies as dead sacrifices, but we DAILY LIVE our lives next too or in comparison to and in appreciation and gratitude for God’s Mercies.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? Try running through some of the character traits of our Great God, and praise Him for who He is and what He has given you. Gratitude to God for His Saving Mercy is a great motivator! We are marked and motivated by God’s mercies: His love, His Spirit in us, the hope of glory to be fulfilled in us, the peace of God with us and in us, new life NOW! Life to His Glory alone.
2 Corinthians 5:15 says it so clearly for us: “And He (Jesus) died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” God has taken care of your soul (pneuma) with HIS SACRIFICE, and now, in response to His Mercy in Christ, the body that you presently inhabit, is given in life service to Him in the HERE and NOW.