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.”
The Mercies of God
What are the mercies of God? Well, God the Father sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to the earth to be born to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit, to live on this earth, to suffer as we suffer, and to be tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. While on the earth he fed the hungry, healed the sick and afflicted, delivered people from demons, raised the dead, and performed many miracles. And he taught that if we are going to come after him we must deny self, die to sin, and follow (obey) him.
Although he was loved by a few, he ended up being hated by the many and put to death on a cross although he had done no wrong. But this was God’s will that Jesus should die on that cross, for in his death he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He put our sins to death with him on that cross so that by faith in him we would die with him to sin and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
So, when we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith in him, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but so we will live as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin is to have no more dominion over our lives.
Therefore, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, God the Father condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, and to set the mind on the flesh is death, not life eternal. For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
So, if we live according to the flesh we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body (of the flesh), then we will live. For Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we would now live for him and no longer for ourselves. And he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we will now honor God with our lives. For Jesus died to free us from slavery to sin so we would now live holy lives for him.
[Jn 1:1-36; Php 2:5-11; Lu 9:23-26; 2 Co 5:21; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20]
As Living Sacrifices
Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross in dying for our sins, and then in being resurrected from the dead, in order that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, we are to present our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. We are to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ so that we are now wholly his, so that we are now his possession and so he is our Lord (Owner-Master). So our lives are now subject to him to be lived in obedience to him.
We give up ownership over our own lives to the Lord Jesus and now we live to please him in what we do. He is the one now ruling our lives and leading us in the way that we are to go and we are now following him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) and to his will and purpose for our lives. And his purpose is that we live holy lives, and holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ in character and in deed.
And what is acceptable to God is in accord with the teachings of the Scriptures, most especially the New Testament and the teachings of Christ and those of the apostles which are for believers in Jesus Christ. So if we are going to live lives which are acceptable to God then we are going to do what he commands. And he says we must deny self and die daily to sin and follow him in obedience in order for us to have life in him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity.
Now this is not demanding absolute perfection (see 1 Jn 2:1-2). But the Scriptures do teach that if we continue in sin, in deliberate and habitual sin, and if we do not obey our Lord and walk in righteousness and holiness, that we do not have eternal life in him unless we repent and we turn away from our lives of sin to follow our Lord in obedience. For Jesus Christ did not give his life up for us on that cross just to forgive us our sins so we can go to heaven when we die. He died to deliver us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we will now walk in his holiness and righteousness, by his grace.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
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.”
Therefore, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. We are not to immerse ourselves in our culture in order to connect with the people of the world. We are not to become like the world in order to win the world, and to what? So many churches are teaching their people to become more like the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings, but this is not about winning hearts to Jesus Christ. This is about boosting numbers and having more people in these market-driven “churches.”
If we want to win people to Jesus Christ we need to be more like Jesus. But we have to know who Jesus is, because not many people are teaching the true character of Christ these days, but many are teaching a false Jesus who is partially the true Jesus but partially not because his image is being altered, just like his gospel, in order to draw the world into the gatherings of what is called “church”. So they have to make Jesus and his gospel more acceptable and appealing to the world.
But again, we are to be different from the world because we are to be becoming like Jesus in character and in deed. We are not supposed to blend in with the world so that they will like us. We are to be those who are telling them what Jesus and his apostles taught even if we are hated and persecuted in return. Jesus was hated because he told people the truth they did not want to hear. If we love people we will tell them the truth even if they reject us and mistreat us and turn against us like they did Jesus.
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]
By Paul Baloche / Lenny Leblanc
Above all powers above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
Above all kingdoms above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There’s no way to measure what You’re worth
Crucified laid behind the stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a Rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
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