Romans 12:1 ESV
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
When Jesus Christ died on that cross, it was not just to forgive us our sins so that we can go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.
When he shed his blood on that cross he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) so that we might now be God’s possession, and so that we might now honor God with our lives (with our bodies). And he gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
His grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. The truth in Christ Jesus is that we are to put off our old self, be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, as followers of Jesus Christ, we aren’t supposed to live the way we did before we believed in Jesus, if we indeed are believing in him with God-given faith. But we are now to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and not according to our flesh.
And all of this is possible because of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross in becoming sin for us and thus putting our sin to death with him so that we can die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For, when we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Therefore, our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that he would now be our Lord (owner-master). Our lives are now to be given over to our Lord as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship of him.
For, worship of God is not just singing songs. For, we can sing praise and worship songs and never be worshiping God. True worship of our Lord is in surrendering our lives fully to him, submitting to his Lordship over our lives, leaving our lives of sin behind us, and following him in obedience.
Romans 12:2 ESV
“Do not be conformed to this world, 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.”
If you are walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, you may be rejected even by others who call themselves Christians. They may even accuse you of being self-righteous or haughty or judgmental or legalistic, or of teaching “works-based salvation.”
They may even try to convince you that you need to not be so “religious,” and they may mock you for your walk of obedience to the Lord and for your seriousness of purpose in following Jesus Christ with your life. And they may criticize you for having Jesus be your all and the central focus of your life.
For, it appears today, at least in the American church at large (not every church fellowship), that non-conformity to the world is being frowned upon, and that conformity to the world is being encouraged and honored. Church “fellowships” often are no different than a group of non-Christians gathering.
Christians are being encouraged to “immerse” themselves in their culture in order to connect with the people of the world, and so they are becoming like the world and not like Jesus in order to “win the world,” but to what? Usually to worldly church fellowships.
And we are being told to “stay in your own lane,” meaning to not confront anyone with sin or to call for repentance and obedience to Christ, because we might offend them with the truth of the gospel and then they might not come back for more of the worldly church fellowships.
But Jesus said he called us out of the world, and thus the world should hate us, not love us. Paul, too, taught that we are not to be conformed to the world. Why then are so many people professing faith in Jesus Christ still living in conformity with the world? Because the church is blessing that.
So, who are we going to listen to? Worldly church leaders? or Jesus? Jesus called us to be his holy people, to live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world. Thus, the world should hate us, not love us as its own. For, we should stand out as different, set apart from the world.
Thus, we should be guarding our hearts and minds against all that is evil, immoral, dishonest, and impure. And we should be walking in holiness and righteousness in the power of God for the glory and praise of God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
By Jonathan Foreman
I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all
So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope
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