Summary: From the first two verses of Romans 12 we discover practical advise to enable us to escape the pressure of the world and to renew our minds so we are able to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.
Blueprint #1: Romans 12:1-2
Back when we lived in Arcadia we hired a building contractor to build a house for us. Part of the process involved selecting and approving a blueprint. The good thing about a blueprint is that nothing is left to the imagination when it comes to the details about the house. Even down to the place where electrical plugs will be placed, every detail is drawn in the plan. Therein we discover the importance of a blue-print. We are beginning a new 4 week series where we will look at chapter 12 of the book of Romans, which gives a blueprint for Christian living.
From chapters 1-11 we learn about God’s grace, and how we are justified in that grace through our faith in Christ. The Apostle Paul teaches that mankind’s continuous problem is sin resulting in his lost condition (Ch.1-3). Then we learn that God’s solution to man’s problem is salvation based on faith in Christ apart from human works (ch.4-5). Next, we discover that God provides to us sanctification through our connection with Christ (vs.6-8). And then we learn about God’s faithfulness over those He has chosen to be His (ch. 9-11).
In chapter 12 Paul changes gears. In fact, he connects what he has already written to what he is about to write with these words, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy…”. Looking back at all that has been said, this is a pivot point for the rest of the Roman letter. So what comes next is not just something to learn in the way of theological teaching, Instead it is something to do that will make major changes within you as a believer. What comes next is a command:
1. PRESENT your body
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to PRESENT your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Consider how unique this command actually is. I can’t think of any other religion on earth that commands a living sacrifice like this. Other religions may call for a sacrifice of something you may possess. For example, Hinduism calls a devotee to have his head shaved and to present the shaved off hair as a sacrifice to the Hindu deities. Islam calls a devoted Muslim to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life. This sacrificial trip is called Hajj. Some of the Pagan Canaanite religions called for people to sacrifice their children to Baal by throwing them into the fire. But none of these other religions called for a living sacrifice of yourself as worship to God. This is unique and worth learning about because it is not only possible to accomplish, but once you’ve learned what all this really means, you will be motivated to present yourself to God in this way willingly and with joy.
One of the first things to learn about presenting yourselves to God is that in order to PRESENT ourselves to God, we need to be PRESENTABLE
Take a gander at these men who signed up with an on-line dating service to present themselves as potential dates. These guys don’t understand the concept of being PRESENTABLE. They need a make-over by someone who understands what women like. But the problem is, that kind of make-over is superficial, It just changes the outside. Most of these sad candidates are in need of a major makeover, both inside and out.
But the truth is that in terms of what we are within ourselves, we are more UNPRESENTABLE than those guys when it comes to presenting ourselves to God. But God has given us a complete MAKEOVER, from the inside out. That’s what Romans 1-11 told about. Because we are made NEW in Christ, we can now PRESENT ourselves to Christ.
In fact, this is our proper WORSHIP. Naturally, we think of worship as singing at church or praying … but worship is also LIVING life as instruments of God. God wants to use our body as an instrument of righteousness. If we can live our lives as new creations through Christ, we are in a position to offer our bodies as acceptable living sacrifices. And the amazing thing about this is that being presentable is not a matter of struggling to be good enough to measure up to a standard. Instead, we live in vital union with the Holy Spirit God placed within us and allow his presence to overflow like living water coming from within us, and flowing from us to others.
Looking at this blueprint for Christian living, step 1 is PRESENT your body. Step 2 is RENEW your mind
2. RENEW your mind
Vs.2, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the RENEWING of your mind.