A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

‘Beseech’ [Greek: parakaleo] to call aside; make an appeal in view of certain facts. Here it is an appeal in view of the wonderful doctrines of Romans 1-8 and of God’s dispensational dealings with Jews and Gentiles in Romans 9-11. Paul comes now to the practical application of the gospel to people (Romans 12:1-15:7).

‘Mercies’ [Greek: oiktirmos] tender compassions. ‘Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God’ – people are now to bring themselves to God instead of sacrifices to the altar as of old. They are now to be wholly the Lord’s as were the former sacrifices.

‘Living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God’ – fifteen commands about the body: yield it to God (Rom. 11:1; 6:13-20); make it living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1); make it holy (Rom. 12:1; 1Cor. 3:17); make it accepted of God (Rom. 12:1); make it full of light (Matt. 6:22); reckon it dead to sin (Rom. 6:11); reckon it alive to God (Rom. 6:11); refuse its slavery to sin (Rom. 6:12); mortify its deeds (Rom. 8:13); refuse to defile it (1Cor. 3:17); make it fit temple of Holy Spirit (1Cor. 3:16-17; 6:13-20); make it free from fornication and only for the Lord (1Cor. 6:13-20); glorify God in it (1Cor. 6:20); keep it in control (1Cor. 9:27); put off its sins (Col. 2:11).

‘Reasonable service’ – rational worship, because performed with the heart, mind, and soul of intelligent beings, and is in contrast to the worship of idols of Romans 1:25.

‘Be not conformed to this world; but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ Note the two commands of this verse.

‘Conformed’ [Greek: suschematizo] to conform to another’s example. We have a choice to follow in Jesus’ footsteps as given to us according to 1Peter 2:21-23, or the things that make up the world system of evil and rebellion against God. Men must not love the world system or the things in it, love of God and love of these things are not compatible. ‘World’ [Greek: aion] age. Do not pattern after this age or to the times.

‘Transformed’ [Greek: metamorphoo] transformed or transfigured by a supernatural change, as in Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2; Romans 12:2 and 2Corinthians 3:18. This change is by a renewing of the mind or spirit (Tit. 3:5; cp. 2Cor. 4:16; Col. 3:10; Heb. 6:6; Eph. 4:23). The whole course of life must now flow in a different direction (2Cor. 5:17-18). Be renewed in the attitude of your mind by renouncing its vanity (Eph. 4:17), its darkness and blindness (Eph. 4:18) and learning of Christ (Eph. 4:20-21).

‘That you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ Six things that constitute the acceptable and perfect will of God: Present your bodies a living sacrifice to God (12:1; 1Cor. 3:16-17; 6:20); make the body holy (12:1; 2Cor. 7:1); make self acceptable to God; render reasonable service (12:1); be not conformed to the world; be transformed from the world (12:2).

‘Perfect’ [Greek: teleios] that which has reached its end; nothing more to complete it.

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