By God’s Mercies
Romans 12:1 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…
Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us on that cross in order to free us from condemnation and to deliver us out of our bondage to sin. He died on that cross in order that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. By his stripes we are healed (1 Pet. 2:24). And, because he was resurrected from the dead, victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death, we can now live new lives in him free from the control of sin.
So, in view of all that Jesus Christ did for us, both in his death and in his resurrection, what kind of lives should we, who have believed on him to be our Lord and Savior, be living?
Our whole being – mind, soul, and body – should be given over to the Lord, to be his wholly, to serve him, and to obey him. We should have this mindset, which is that Jesus, as our Redeemer, bought us back for God with his blood shed on a cross for our sins. This means our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, though that is often what is modeled to us. But, we are now God’s possession, for him to accomplish his will in and through our lives, for his praise, for his purposes and for his glory.
… holy and acceptable to God…
We are to be holy in all that we do. To be holy means to live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world around us because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. This means that we don’t partake in what is unholy, ungodly or worldly, not in deed, nor in allowing ourselves to be entertained by such as that. But, we submit our lives to our Lord and to his will for our lives, and we follow his will and his ways.
This is so that we can live lives which are pleasing to God, which we are to do, as followers of Christ. So, don’t buy into the lies which tell you that God is pleased with you no matter what you do, because we are commanded in scripture to find out what pleases our Lord and to do it.
(See: Rom. 8:8; 2 Co. 5:9; Gal. 6:8; Eph. 5:10; Col. 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 11:6; Heb. 13:6; & 1 Jn. 3:22).
… which is your spiritual worship.
When we give our lives over to our Lord, to be wholly his, laying down our selfish wills, to live holy lives pleasing to our Lord, in this way we are worshiping him with our lives.
So many people have this idea of worship that it is something we do primarily in a worship service where we sing praise and worship songs. Yet, although singing songs of praise to our Lord is part of our worship, it is possible to sing songs and not worship our Lord whatsoever. For, our true worship of him is us surrendering our lives fully to him, denying ourselves, and taking up our cross daily to follow him wherever he leads (Lu. 9:23-25).
Renewal of Mind
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world…
Since we are to be holy, which means to live lives which are separate from the world, because we are being conformed to Christ’s likeness, then we must no longer live our lives in conformity to the ways of this world.
This means that, in our thinking, believing, reasoning, attitudes, values, morals and behaviors, we should be like Jesus, not like the world. By the Spirit, daily we should be putting sin to death, which includes sinful attitudes, values and morals, as well as behaviors.
So, how do we do this? Well, first of all, we do this via submission to our Lord, and in his power and strength, as we yield to the Lordship of Christ in our lives. We obey our Lord and his Word, we resist Satan, flee temptation, and we draw near to God. We throw off all that hinders our walks of faith and those sins which so easily entangle us, and we run the race marked out for us by God with perseverance (Heb. 12:1-2).
If we don’t put off the old, we can’t put on the new, for they are counterproductive. It would be a lot like trying to go right and left both at the same time. One will cancel out the other, or else you end up at a standstill, going nowhere. We can’t live in purity and holiness, in other words, if we are daily feeding our minds with what is unholy and impure. If we want to live lives which are pleasing to God, then we must turn away from those things which lead us in the opposite direction.
… but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
And, this is all part of that process of having our minds renewed. But, it won’t happen if we are not willing to let go of the world and its values, morals, and attitudes, and to be wholly abandoned unto God. For, we have to put off lying, and tell the truth, put off stealing and give to others, and put off lust and put on purity of mind, etc. (See: Eph. 4-5; Gal. 5:16-26).
And, this takes discipline, and commitment, and perseverance, and surrender to Christ. And, involved in this process will be spiritual warfare, too, for Satan once had control over our lives, and so he fights against us consistently to try to get us back in his ball court, playing his game, his way.
So, we must resist him by saying “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and by living self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
… that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
In this way we will learn to know what the will of God is, that which is his good and acceptable and perfect will for our lives. We will know that salvation is not a one-time experience after which we can live however we want and still go to heaven when we die. We will learn that Jesus didn’t die just to save us from hell and to promise us heaven when we die, but he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, we will learn that if we persist in living still in our sins, that we don’t have eternal life with God.
But, we will also learn the joys of fellowship with our Lord, of being in his service, of living in purity and holiness, of true worship of our Lord, and of walks of faith which are pleasing to our Lord. We will know his love, in truth, which cares about how we live our lives, and we will walk in his truth. And, we will also know the joys of sharing his love, his gospel and his truth with others so that they, too, can walk in his love, in fellowship with him, free from the control of sin over their lives, and free to walk in his holiness.
Christ Is Able (To Save)
Come ye ransomed and forgiven
Come ye rescued from the grave
Rise and worship Christ our Savior
For the glory of His name
He is able, He is able
Christ is able still to save
Come ye sinners, poor and needy
Sing to Him our song of praise…
Thursday, May 3, 2018, 4:15 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. May you bring it home to our hearts. Amen!