Today’s reading includes Chapter 12 of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The first two verses of this chapter should be well known to every student of the New Testament: I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

Today, I will make 2 observations on verse 1. My first observation is that Paul’s basis for appealing to the Roman believers in this passage is the mercies of God’s. Paul has expounded upon these mercies in chapters 1 – 11. These mercies include God’s love, grace, righteousness and His gift of faith. In Paul’s view, our only response to God’s lavish mercies poured out upon us is to give ourselves back to Him in gratitude for what He has already done for us.

My second observation: Paul borrows from Old Testament imagery in this verse. Under the Old Covenant, God’s people presented the sacrifices of dead animals. But under the New Covenant, because of Christ’s supreme sacrifice, God no longer requires animal sacrifices to make atonement for God’s people. For all who are in Christ then, the most logical expression of our worship is to offer ourselves completely to the Lord. A life of service. In Luke 1:74 and 75, we find Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist offering this prayer…To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

This is a lovely model of what it means to be a living sacrifice. May we continually seek to present ourselves to our heavenly Father as living sacrifices, NOT conformed to this world, BUT transformed by the renewal of our minds. (Romans 12:2)

by Paul Schmidt, Elder

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