In Vain to Me They’re Calling

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 many years ago, and he was resurrected from the dead on the third day, as he said he would, it was not just to forgive us our sins so that when we die we can go to heaven. It was to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we can now live as slaves to God and to his righteousness in walks of holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, in his power, for the glory and praise of God.

So, by his mercies in dying on that cross so that we can die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, this is how we are to live. We are to humble ourselves before the Lord in true repentance (turning away from sin) to now follow Jesus in walks of obedience. We are to surrender our lives to Christ as living sacrifices, meaning our lives now belong to him and we relinquish ownership of our lives to him so that we now live for him.

Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want. Our lives are dedicated to following Jesus wherever he leads us and to doing his will for our lives. We believe what the Scriptures teach and we don’t cherry pick the ones we like and disregard the ones that don’t fit with our lifestyles or with our theology. We long for our Lord and for his word and we want to know his will so that we can do his will in his strength, power, and wisdom.

So now, instead of living for ourselves, doing whatever our flesh dictates, we now live holy lives, different (separate) from the world, because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ in character, by the grace of God, with our full cooperation. We live lives which are acceptable to God, which are usually then not acceptable to the flesh of humans. And so this means we are living in moral purity, honesty, and faithfulness to God.

For this is our spiritual worship of God. Worship, although it may include singing, is not in itself singing songs of praise to God. For we can sing to our heart’s content and never worship our Lord. We can mouth words of worship of our Lord and never truly worship God. For worship of God is surrendering our lives to him, repenting of our sins, and following Jesus Christ in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives, as living sacrifices.

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.”

Even though we believe in Jesus Christ, we still live in flesh bodies. So the flesh and the world will still call out to us from time to time, and they will try to draw us back into their world. But by the grace of God we are trained to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14). And so we need to put that into practice in our daily lives.

We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. We aren’t supposed to immerse ourselves in our culture. We are not to be like the world so that the world will not be offended by us or so they will not see us as judgmental. We are to stand out as different. That is what it means to be holy. So many pastors are trying to blend in with the world so that they identify with the world, but they are to identify with Christ, not the world.

We are to be separate from the world in our thinking, behaving, attitudes, and philosophies. We are not to adopt the ways of this sinful world. But then we are to go out into the world as Christ’s representatives and we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to be proclaiming the excellencies of God who called us out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light (truth, righteousness, salvation). This is why we are here.

Instead of being conformed to the ways of this sinful world, we are to be transformed (changed) by the renewal of our minds, which takes place when we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, and we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and when we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old way of life is put to death so that we can walk in the way of the Spirit.

Then, as we become servants of Christ and not of ourselves, and we become students of the Scriptures, and not of the ways of this sinful world, and we hunger and thirst for righteousness, and not for what our sinful flesh craves, we begin to discern more and more what the will of God is for our lives, and we also see more and more the ways in which we were caught up in the world and where we need to come out of the world and to be separate.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Dwelling In Beulah Land

By Miles C Austin (1911)

Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling;
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand;
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling;
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.

Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating,
Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand;
Safe am I within the castle of God’s word retreating,
Nothing there can reach me, ’tis Beulah Land.

Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand;
Here the sun is always shining, nothing there can harm me;
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.

Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation;
Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned;
Dwelling in the Spirit, here I learn of full salvation,
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.

I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky,
I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry;
Oh, yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.

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