Romans 12:1-2 NASB
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Paul’s appeal to the believers in Jesus Christ was not of himself, of his own flesh, but it came from God, by the mercies of God. For it was God’s mercy towards us who are sinners by nature to send Jesus Christ to the cross to die for our sins so that we can now die with him to sin and live to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23). And it is God’s mercies (compassions) towards us which urges, and exhorts, and encourages us to live godly and holy lives to the glory and praise of God.
So, based on God’s mercies and compassions towards us, Paul urged (exhorted, encouraged, entreated, and called for) the believers in Christ to present themselves to God as living and holy sacrifices to God, which are acceptable to God. So, what does this mean? It means our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want. It means we have surrendered our lives to Christ to be used of him for his glory and purposes. And so it means denying self and daily dying to sin and to self, and it means following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways (see Luke 9:23-26).
Also it means that we are committed to living holy lives unto God. And to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. And we are to be holy in all our conduct, so we are to live holy unto God in our daily routines, and in our actions, and in our attitudes, and in the words which we speak. For we are not to be like the world (the ungodly), which includes professing Christians who have not died with Christ to sin and who are not living to him and to his righteousness, because they are still living in slavery to sin.
Now this is our spiritual service of worship to God. For “worship” is not just singing songs of worship and raising arms and swaying arms and closing our eyes and muttering praises to God, although this appears to be what is commonly being called “worship” today. For we can do all those things and never worship God, and we can never do such things and still worship God. For true worship of God, although it may certainly include singing, is more about our submission to Christ as Lord and our walks of obedience to our Lord and our forsaking of our sins and our conforming to the ways of God.
Now, included in all of this mentioned so far, but going right along with the meaning of the word “holy,” is that, as followers of Christ, we are to no longer be being conformed to the ways of this sinful world and to this present age and culture. And family traditions and cultural traditions are never to supersede the commands of God. So if your culture dictates that you lie to people to make them feel good, or that you lie to them to their faces while you then gossip about them behind their backs, then you are not to follow your traditions, but you follow the Lord and his Word, instead.
And you don’t become like the world to attract the world to your religious gatherings, either. For if you are just like them, what are you winning them to? So, contrary to popular teaching, we don’t immerse ourselves in our culture so that the people of the world will feel at home with us. For we are to stand out as different, and it should be obvious that we have been with Jesus because we are taking on his character, and we are speaking the kinds of things he spoke, including the hard lessons he taught about what it means to be truly saved from our sins and to have heaven as our eternal home.
And, instead of being conformed to the ways of this world, we are to be transformed (of God) in the renewing of our minds (and hearts). And the word transform means to change from what we were to something else, like a caterpillar being changed (metamorphized) into a butterfly. So, we were enslaved to sin, and now we become slaves of God and of his righteousness. And we were obedient to sin and now we become obedient to our Lord. And we were walking (in conduct, in practice) in sin, and now we are walking in holiness and in righteousness, in the power of God’s Spirit within us.
And in this way we (our lives) will prove what the will of God is for the life of one who professes faith in Jesus Christ. Our lives will be examples of what a Christian should be like in character and in deed. This is not saying we will be absolutely perfect people in all ways at all times, but that we should not be who we were before. We should no longer be enslaved to sin but now to God and to his righteousness. And we should now be living holy and godly lives to the praise of God. And this will show (reveal) what is approved by God and what is his good, well-pleasing, and perfect will for our lives.
[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]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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