Summary: This series is based on A. M. Hills book "Holiness in the Book of Romans."
Everything we have looked at over the last several weeks has led us to this point. Paul has been in realm of theory and theology. Now he gets practical. What does all this mean in everyday life?
Read Romans 12:1-2.
In v. 1 we have the word “therefore.” When you see that word you have to ask, “What’s it there for?” This is the practical application of what precedes.
A. Consider the OBLIGATION
Paul appeals for us “to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.” This is a decisive act. We come to the point where we decide to do it.
1. Sacrifice is always with the MEANS of the GIVER
In the OT a worshipper was required to bring something within their means. A rich person would have to bring gold or a large animal. A poor person was only required to bring a small bird or some flour.
It is within our means to give up ourselves. We are not asked to something impossible. God never asks us to do the impossible. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
2. We are no longer our OWN
When the OT worshipper brought his lamb, or other offering, all claim was surrendered to God. When we put our offering in the basket, we surrender all claim to that. When we donate something to the church, we surrender all claim to it. When we offer our bodies to God, we are no longer our own. We surrender to God completely.
3. This is a LIVING SACRIFICE
Our very life becomes a sacrificial offering to God. The lamb in OT gave up his life. It died. We live. Our will is still in tact. The only difference is that sin is dead. A dead sacrifice is dead. Death is final. Life goes on. We must go on living for God. A lot of people, “I’m willing to die for Jesus.” Great, but who’s willing to live for Jesus?
B. The sacrifice must be HOLY
“How can I be a holy sacrifice?” you ask. It’s not a matter of being holy before we offer ourselves. If we wait until we are holy, we will never be ready. We don’t bathe before we shower.
When we offer ourselves, God makes us holy. God doesn’t want a better you; he wants you as you are. All God wants of you is to want him.
C. ACCEPTABLE to God
God is not a hard Master. He looks on us with pity. One of the meanings of mercy is pity. The other day, I saw a wounded bird dodging through traffic until he came to a curb. He tried to get up on the curb. God looks at us like that bird. We are wounded by sin. It is a mortal wound unless God helps us, and we have to allow him to help us.
God will let us know we are acceptable. Paul said, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God.” God says, “I accept your sacrifice. I am pleased.”
D. It is a REASONABLE service
The phrase at the end of v. 1 is difficult to translate. It has been translated, “spiritual worship,” “rational service,” “reasonable worship,” “reasonable service,” “rational worship,” intelligent worship,” “true worship,” “reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship,” and “worship which you, as rational creatures should offer.” The NLT asks it this way: “Is this too much to ask?”
The word translated “spiritual, rational, reasonable, intelligent” is logikos, which is where we get our word logic or logical. It is within reason and logic that we can do this. Worship is spiritual. It is only logical that we should do this because of what Christ has done for us. Sanctification is not impossible, or Jesus wouldn’t have prayed for it and commanded it. What is there to lose? Sin. Damnation. Separation from God. I’ll lose those all day long to be with God.
E. Don’t be CONFORMED to the world
To be conformed is to be put in the mold of the world. We can’t allow the world’s view to shape our view. The church often gets caught up in the views of the world. We want the biggest building in town. We want the influential people to come. We want numbers, numbers, numbers. If our lives are truly sacrificed to God, we won’t care what the world thinks. The world can see when we are conformed to the world’s standards. That’s when they start talking about hypocrites. They’re right. Are you conformed to the world?
F. Be TRANSFORMED
The original word for transformed is where we get the word metamorphosis. That conjures images of a caterpillar spinning a cocoon and a butterfly breaking out. We are no longer conformed to the mold of the world; we are conformed to the mold of Christ. While the sacrifice happens at a moment in time, the transformation is ongoing. We are to continue the transformation. We are not to remain in the same place. We are to continue to form in the mold of Christ.