Summary: The Bible is clear on what a true Christian should look like. Are we committed to being that person?
If there is one thing I have found to be crucial to my Christian walk, it is the constant surrender of my will. When doubt is creeping into my faith - I surrender. When I am afraid, I surrender. When I want Scripture to say something other than what it says, I surrender. When I don’t surrender I get lost in sin and confusion.
Paul always likes to conclude his words on doctrine with lists of duties. In the Christian life, doctrine and behaviour always go together. When it comes right down to it, the first two verses of Romans 12 are perhaps the most crucial verses in the New Testament for living the Christian life. This is the essence of relational theology. The sacrificing of our lives to the one who sacrificed his for us. We are to be:
I. A Living Sacrifice (vv 1-2)
What does this involve?
A. The Surrender of the Body (v. 1)
Paul often talks about the heart. Now this heart is not the muscle beating in our chest, but it is the center of our being, our mind, our will. We’ll get to this in a moment. But what is Paul talking about when he says to present your bodies as a living sacrifice?
Well it means what it says, the body or soma is the whole body and sacrifice literally means “put to death”. Jesus himself was the perfect example of a living sacrifice. Does this mean we are to kill ourselves, obviously not, but we are to die to ourselves and become literally a slave to God through the Holy Spirit.
Remember slaves in this time were indentured servants, they were selling their service, not their actual lives to their masters. Everything they did with their bodies was a duty to their masters. This is where we get the saying “do everything as unto the Lord”.
Our bodies were literally bought by Christ on the cross, and servants are to obey their masters unconditionally. We can trust Christ completely if we surrender to him, it’s not like surrendering to a fallen human being.
This it says, is our acceptable spiritual worship. Do we ever complain about having to go to church on Sunday morning? Woe are we if we do. We are supposed to be surrendered to Christ 24/7 every day of our lives. Our very worship isn’t singing, gracing the Lord with our presence every Sunday if there’s nothing else on the go. It is making him the purpose of everything we do whether it be as mundane as washing the dishes or being martyred as missionaries in Africa.
Basically it means we are at Christ’s beck and call every minute of our lives. We only have to look at the fact that we will die to see that our bodies are literally His. He can take them from us anytime just as he gave them to us. …There is also:
B. The Surrender of the Mind (v. 2)
Verse 2 begins with a profound command. Do not be conformed to this world, or literally in the Greek, this age. It takes us back to Babylon when Jesus says, “come out of her my people”. We are not to be conformed to this world but transformed by the renewal of our minds, literally renovation of our intellect, or thoughts. It’s interesting that we get our English word revival from this Greek word.
Now what is renewal or renovation of the mind? It is basically changing the way we think, and what we believe. In this context where it says do not conform to the world, it means thinking and having beliefs that are of God and not the world. And I submit that the best and maybe only way to do this is by reading the Bible, God’s word, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
That is what this testing is. Allowing the Holy Spirit to test your thoughts and beliefs by putting them into practice, to see if they conform to God’s will and word. The thoughts and will that are perfect, acceptable and good in God’s eyes, not our own.
This is the attitude of surrender that makes everything else about being a Christian possible. Complete surrender of both body and mind to be taken over by Him. Presenting ourselves to him as an offering, holy and acceptable. This it says is our spiritual worship, literally reasonable or even better, logical, service. Why is it logical? Because he died for us and paid our ransom, he bought us. We are his to do with as he pleases.
In other words if you are not doing your best to be holy in your thoughts and choices, living as he wants you to, if you are holding yourself or areas of your life from him, you are not really worshipping in a way acceptable to your Creator. The only sacrifice he wants is us.