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Archive for the ‘Romans’ Category

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

My reasonable service?  Why would presenting my body a living sacrifice be my reasonable service to God?

The answer lies in my status:  I am a bond servant.

  • I was bought with a price.  I belong to someone.  He redeemed me from my bondage.
  • I chose to stay even after I was set free.  By my solemn vow, I have promised to obey and serve my Master forever.
  • It is reasonable for a servant to serve her master.  That is what servants do.
  • It is reasonable to do what one is created to do.

The great irony is that even though I was only a bond servant, the Master calls me His daughter, and He has given me an inheritance, something only a child receives.  Indeed, I have been made a child of God.  I call Him Abba  (translated:  “Papa”)

The miracle of grace is that while all He expects from me is my reasonable service, He has made me a co-heir with Christ.

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I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  Romans 12:1

Acceptable to God?  What does it mean to be acceptable to God?

The apostle Paul says “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.  Romans 14:17-18.

The “these things” appears to refer to verse 17, “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  When we serve Christ in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, this is acceptable to God.

What does righteousness require?  Those who are righteous are in right standing before God.  They meet or match God’s standard of holiness and right conduct.

One doesn’t have to be a Bible scholar to know that no one can meet God’s standard.  The Bible teaches that there is none righteous.  Romans 3:10.   According to God, “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”  Isaiah 64:6

Therefore, since my own righteousness is insufficient, I must seek the righteousness of Christ.   When God looks at me, I want Him to see Christ’s righteousness, not my own.   How can this be accomplished?

Paul tells us in Romans:  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  Romans 5:6-10.

So it is the blood . . . there is power in the blood . . . covered in the blood of the perfect sacrifice (Jesus), I can be seen by God as having the righteousness of Christ, the only one to ever meet God’s standard.

By grace I have been saved through faith, and that not of myself.  It is a gift of God, not of my works, lest I should try to take credit for the work Christ completed on the cross.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

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Romans 12: Holy?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  Romans 12:1

What does it mean for me to be holy?

According to the dictionary, holy  is defined as:  “of, relating to, or associated with God or a deity.”  It can also mean “sacred” or “endowed or invested with extreme purity or sublimity; 3. devout, godly, or virtuous]

Often when I have heard holiness taught on, it is explained as being “Set apart to God” or the idea of being “separate” from the world and/or the things of the world.

But isn’t it usually God who is described as holy?    The answer is that God is holy, but the Bible is clear that the believer, the child of God, is to be holy as well.
  • Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love   Ephesians 1:4
  • That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish  Ephesians 5:27
  • For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.  1 Thessalonians 4:7
  • But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:15-16
 The idea of holiness among the children of God is not limited to the New Testament.  The following are Old Testament references that teach this as well:
  • Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.  Leviticus 19:2
  • For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.  Leviticus 11:44
 Holiness is necessary in order to please God, and for that reason we need to diligently seek it in our lives.  Hebrews 12:12.

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Romans 12:1&2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
 
How shall I present my body? . . .  As a living sacrifice
▸ Dead works are not sufficient
▸ Most sacrifices are dead before they are placed on the altar.  In this case, I must be alive, but my “self” or “self-focus” must be dead – totally yielded to Christ
▸ I must put myself on the altar knowing that I am submitting to the fire’s refinement.

If you can survive the imagery (burning flesh on the fire doesn’t really sound inviting), it begs the question, “how can I ever hope to present my body as a living sacrifice?”

The answer is found, in part, in 2 Corinthians 5:21.  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  We are able to become righteous . . . an acceptable sacrifice by the shed blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, slain once for all.

I find more insight in Galatians 2:20 which reminds me that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  This sacrificial life will be by faith in the One who already proved his love, His sacrifice.

Finally, I am told in Colossians 2:6-7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  The key to my being a living sacrifice is to walk in Christ, in His Word.  To be rooted in and built up in the experiential knowledge of Christ.  Then shall I be able to live this sacrificial life.

Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ!

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Romans 12, verses 1 and 2 are familiar and yet shrouded, within my grasp but elusive.

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

OBSERVATIONS:

Present your bodies . . .

∙ This is a commandsomething I  “must do” rather than merely “should do”
∙ Something is required of me
∙ The implication of the command is that my body is under my control, subject to my will
∙ This involves the discipline of self-control, a fruit of the Spirit in my life (Galatians 2:22-23)

We are not in this alone.  In Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul assures us, “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.   The things God would like me to do are not without meaning or import . . . they are my purpose, my destiny . . . God’s best plan for me.

When I feel I cannot obey this command, Jesus is my example.  I am told by the writer of  Hebrews, to lay “aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and . . . run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

 

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