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?”