Summary: We are to Give Worship to God because 1) Our Souls have been given to God and 2) Our bodies, 3) Our minds, and 4) Our wills should be given as well.
As 2009 approaches its final weeks we see the wrap of not only a year but of the first decade of the Millennium. The greed of the 80’s resulted in caution being thrown to the wind in the 90’s resulting in the bottom falling out of the last ten years (the 00’s?). When people en mass strove to satisfy themselves, they reap the harvest of their greed.
In the first eleven chapters of Romans, the Apostle Paul outlined the great gifts that God has given believers and now charges those believers with what they need to give God. What is interesting about the argument thus far in Romans, is that Paul now shows us what true spiritual victory and fulfillment is. The key to spiritual victory and true happiness is not in trying to get all we can from God but in giving all that we are and have to Him.” The only harvest that reaps eternal blessing is one of giving. Over the past weeks we have looked at giving a) gifts, b) thanks, c) love, d) time, e) hope and f) grace.
In Romans 12:1–2, we come to the ultimate expressing of giving. In this forceful and compassionate exhortation, the apostle does not focus on what more we need to receive from God but on what we are to give Him. The key to a productive and satisfying Christian life is not in getting more but in giving all. We discover four elements of presenting ourselves to God as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice—essentially the same four elements found in the first and greatest commandment. We are to Give Worship to God because 1) Our Souls have been given to God and 2) Our bodies, 3) Our minds, and 4) Our wills should be given as well.
We are to Give Worship to God because:
1) Our Souls have been given to God
Romans 12:1a [12:1]I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, (to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship). (ESV)
Appeal or Urge is from parakaleō, which has the basic meaning of calling alongside in order to help or give aid. It later came to connote exhorting, admonishing, or encouraging.
Paul is speaking as a human helper or counselor to his Christian brethren in Rome. His admonition is a command that carries the full weight of his apostleship. It is not optional. Yet he also wanted to come alongside those brothers as a fellow believer, to lovingly encourage them to fulfill what already was the true inner desire and bent of their new hearts—to dedicate themselves without reservation to the Lord who had redeemed them. The gentle appeal[urge] that Paul proceeds to give can only be obeyed by brethren, by those who already belong to God’s family. No other offering is acceptable to God unless we have first offered Him our souls. The unregenerate person cannot give God his body, his mind, or his will, because He has not given God himself. Only the redeemed can present a living sacrifice to God, because only the redeemed have spiritual life. And only believers are priests who can come before God with an offering.
Earlier in the epistle Paul has made clear that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). No matter what his personal feelings might be, the unredeemed person cannot worship God, cannot make an acceptable offering to God, cannot please God in any way with any offering. That is analogous to what Paul meant when he said, “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3). If a person does not possess the love of God, all of his offerings, no matter how costly, are worthless to God.
Therefore refers back to the glorious doxology just given in the previous four verses (11:33–36). It is because “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things,” that to Him belongs “the glory forever.” We can only glorify the Lord—we can only want to glorify the Lord—if we have been saved by the mercies of God. The mercies of God of which Paul speaks here include the many gracious blessings, or grace gifts (cf. 11:29), that he has discussed in the first eleven chapters of Romans.
Please turn back in Romans to Romans 5
Perhaps the two most precious mercies of God are His love and His grace. In Christ, we are the “beloved of God” (Rom. 1:7; cf. Rom. 5:5; Rom. 8:35, Rom. 8:39), and, like the apostle, we all “have received grace” through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 1:6–7; Rom. 3:24; Rom. 5:2, Rom. 5:20–21; Rom. 6:15).