When I started thinking about how I wanted to start off the new season of Live Well Now, Romans 12 just stuck in mind and wouldn’t go away. I concluded that God was trying to tell me something, so here goes! Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, so I depend on research and God’s prompting to get me through times like this.
For the sake of brevity, we aren’t going to cover the entire Chapter 12, but concentrate on verses 1 and 2 instead. We will go into more detail in our meeting later this week.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform 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. Romans 12:1-2 NIV
“In view of God’s mercy”: mercy is a “love that responds to human need in an unexpected or unmerited way.” At its core, mercy is forgiveness. The Bible speaks of God’s love for sinners – that is, for all of us. “Mercy Matters: Opening Yourself to the Life Changing Gift.” Mathew Schmalz – Associate Professor of Religion, College of the Holy Cross
“to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice“: In the Old Covenant, animal sacrifices were offered to God. These were leading up to the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. He was the living sacrifice, a one time sacrifice, on the cross, making the Old Testament sacrifices obsolete. The only acceptable worship is to offer ourselves completely to the Lord. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, this is only reasonable.
What does a living sacrifice really look like? In Romans 12:2 it says we are a living sacrifice for God by not being conformed to this world. The world is defined for us in 1 John 2:15-16 as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. All that the world has to offer can be reduced to these three things. The lust of the flesh includes everything that appeals to our appetites and involves excessive desires for food, drink, sex, and anything else that satisfies physical needs. Lust of the eyes mostly involves materialism, coveting whatever we see that we don’t have and envying those who have what we want. The pride of life is defined by any ambition for that which puffs us up and puts us on the throne of our own lives.
We live in the world so how do we not be conformed to the world? We need to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” The only way I can do this is through the power of the word of God. This power, planted in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is the only thing that can move us from worldliness to spirituality. Through it, we can be made “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Are you a living sacrifice to God? I strive to be, every day. And still I fail. God, forgive me and never let me take the ultimate living sacrifice of Jesus Christ for granted.
In His light,