Living Sacrifices: Romans 12:1-2
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. 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)
Paul in these two verses at the beginning of Romans 12 tells us in no uncertain terms what it takes to know the will of God. He tells us that we must: “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” and “do not conform to the pattern of this, world but transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And that is what we are going to be looking at. We are going to look at offering ourselves as living sacrifices and not being conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. And then lastly we are going to look at how that leads us to know God’s will.
Our Bodies as Living Sacrifices
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. (Romans 12:1 NIV)
Jesus’ followers must possess a strong passion to honor him in every aspect of life. Out of gratitude to God for his mercy and salvation, we should be completely devoted to loving him, living by his standards and serving his purposes for our lives. And there are three key things that we must do in order for this to happen.
- Our goal should be to show God’s holiness (moral purity, spiritual wholeness, separation from evil, and complete dedication to God) in all we do. This requires separation from the patterns and practices of the world so we can pursue a deeper relationship with God. As we consider his sacrifice for us, offering ourselves to him as “living sacrifices” is good and pleasing as our spiritual act of worship (v. 2).
- We must offer our bodies to God as dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11 and 8:10) and as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:15 and 19).
- We must realize that true Godly worship involves a lifestyle that brings honor to Christ in words and actions. Because it is not necessarily a great sacrifice to voice our worship to God in a church service where people are gathered for that very purpose (Ephesians 5:2 and Hebrews 13:15). Worship becomes a true sacrifice when we take it outside of the church by living in a way that truly honors, exalts and brings positive attention to God.
Do Not Conform…But be Transformed
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)
Paul brings out several things in this verse. They include the following:
- There is very real pressure to conform “to the pattern” of this world and be squeezed into its likeness on many different levels. We as followers of Christ must firmly resist the temptation to accept and imitate the world’s ways of thinking and behaving.
- The reason we must resist adopting the world’s way is because it is evil (Acts 2:20 and Galatians 1:4), it is under Satan’s rule (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 1 John 5:19), it is hostile to God and his people (John 7:7; 15:18-21; James 4:4 and 1 John 2:15-17) and it is built on human wisdom and values (1 Corinthians 1:17-25). The world holds a worldview that we as followers of Christ cannot accept because it rejects God and his standards (Romans 1:18-32 and Colossians 2:8).
- Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). This world’s kingdom is full of spiritual darkness, deception and seduction (Matthew 5:14-16; John 3:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 12:9). We as Christ’s followers are called to be a light in the midst of this darkness (Matthew 5:14-16 and Ephesians 5:8-11). Our lives should reflect a positive difference that those in the world cannot help but notice. This includes resisting the temptation to conform to the varied types of worldliness common in society, including greed, selfishness, humanistic thinking, a desire for power, envy, hate, revenge, filthy language, sexual lust and impurity, ungodly entertainment, fashions that are immodest and seductive, substance abuse, relationships that do not honor God and other such things that defy the standards of God’s Word (Ephesians 5:3-16 and 1 John 2:15-17).
- Instead of conforming to the world’s values and lifestyles, our minds must continually be renewed and transformed (i.e., changed) to God’s way of thinking (1 Corinthians 2:16 and Philippians 2:5). This can only happen as we spend time reading and meditating on his Word (i.e., pondering over and over what it means and how it applies to our lives; Psalm 119:11 and 148; John 8:31-32 and 15:7). This allows our visions, values, behaviors and plans to be directed by God’s eternal truth, rather than by the world’s temporary and deceptive pattern.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2b)
By having a spiritually renewed mind and a transformed life through a growing relationship with Christ, we are able to discern and follow God’s will-his desires, plans and intentions based on his character and purposes. This is highest and best way of life for us (although it may not necessarily be the easiest). Some mistakenly regard the references to “good, pleasing and perfect” as three levels of God’s will, but this is really a single description of God’s ultimate purpose. God’s will is “good” because it leads to your spiritual and moral growth as a follower of Christ. It is “pleasing” to God because it serves his purposes, even though we may not always understand it. It is “perfect” because we cannot improve on God’s will; it is absolutely what is best for us in our relation to fulfilling his purposes.
So when we offer our bodies as living sacrifices, choosing to not be conformed to the ways of this but rather being transformed by the renewal of our minds, we then open ourselves up to being able to “test and approve what God’s will is.”
Today’s Bible Readings:
Hosea 10-14, Jude 1, Psalm 127:1-5 and Proverbs 29:15-17
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly