Summary: Takes Romans 12: 1-2 in context
June 13, 2010
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
Romans 12:1-2 is one of the best loved and most often quoted Scripture in the Bible. I don’t know how many times I have read it, preached it and quoted it. But I want to approach it from a little different angle this time. I have been reading this section of Scripture in my daily devotions and looking at this great verse in the context of the entire book, or at least in context of the preceding few chapters – and that’s what I want to share with you this morning. In context, Paul connects God’s grace with our sacrifice, resulting in our service.
I want you to notice, first, that this Scripture begins with a ‘therefore’. Whenever you have a ‘therefore’ in the bible you have to ask yourself – “What’s it there for?” Usually it is connecting two thoughts or ideas or subjects together. In this case, it is connecting God’s grace with our offering our bodies as living sacrifices. Let’s look first at God’s grace. In Romans, chapter 10, Paul talks about salvation. He defines salvation pretty simply. He says,
“That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Romans 10:9-11
That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth. Salvation = belief + confession. But it isn’t as simple as it seems. It is easy to say something – but quite another thing to really believe it. Salvation starts in the heart (head or mind). You need to believe Jesus. You need to believe that He has risen from the dead. If you do, that infers that you believe He has power over death. If you believe that – you believe Jesus is God – because He said He was and because only God has power over death. If you truly believe in your heart that Jesus is God – it will change your life. If Jesus is God – that means you aren’t. It means HE is Lord. If He is Lord, you will, of course, confess it with your mouth. Furthermore, if you truly believe He is Lord – it will change your life. You will confess it and live it and express it in your actions. If Jesus is truly Lord – it will revolutionize your life. It did mine! It did Paul’s!
I think a lot of Christians today ‘confess Jesus is Lord’ but they don’t really ‘believe’ it in the biblical sense. Too many people today believe ‘intellectually’ but not spiritually. You can believe something intellectually without having it affect your actions or your life very much. James says,
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
Even the demons believe – but it is not a saving belief. James is pointing out that a lot of people believe Jesus is God, but it doesn’t do them any good. It is not spiritual belief – it is just intellectual belief. The difference is action. We can believe something intellectually, like it is going to rain today, and yet not have it affect our actions. If we really truly believe it is going to rain, we will get our umbrella or our rain coat. Spiritual believe invokes action. When you believe – it changes your actions. It changes your life.