Tag Archives: Romans

Living sacrifice: Presenting your mind

Romans 12:1 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.

There are many of you reading this who have tasted and seen what a transformed life in Jesus is all about. You know just how good it is. But there are some of you, maybe even some who have sat in church services for years, who remain the same as always. Untransformed. You’ve never been changed and maybe you’re wondering why. That was me too for a long time. I knew the truth and I believed it, but I was unchanged. When I finally surrendered my will for God’s I was truly transformed. That was my fresh start.

So let’s talk about presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice as an act of spiritual worship. God doesn’t want all we have. He wants all we are. We display what we value with our bodies. If we’re followers of Jesus, we use our bodies to make Christ known. That’s why we sacrifice what we are.

Presenting your whole body, your whole self, is comprised of 5 things, maybe more, but I’m going to talk about 5. Your Mind, your Mouth, your Ministry, your Moves, and your Motives.

Mind: So much begins with a single thought. Attitudes, feelings, actions – they can all go wrong if our thinking is wrong. That’s why Paul urges us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. It’s the beginning of it all.

Sometimes we, I think men especially, try to compartmentalize things. We think, “Sure, I’ll work for God, I’ll give to God’s work, and I’ll try to talk in a way that’s pleasing to God. But I’m not willing to give up my sinful thoughts. I’m gonna hold on to those.” We can’t separate all of these things from each other, though. We’re being told to present our whole selves, not just some aspects. If we’re unwilling to let God have lordship over our thoughts, we can’t be transformed. This means I need to not just have positive thoughts, but submit my thoughts to the authority of Christ.

If you’re thinking right now, “I could never do this. My thoughts are outside of my control!” That’s exactly my point. It’s not about you controlling your thoughts, it’s about saying, “God, I want to think with a renewed mind and I want my thoughts to please you.” And letting Him be the Lord of your thoughts.

When we submit our minds, God gives us discernment. He doesn’t control our thoughts like we’re robots, He helps us to think with a healthy mind to please Him.

Living sacrifices

Romans 12:1 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.

Let’s look at the key word “living” in the phrase “living sacrifice.” It’s easy to just move right past that, but we have to think like the Romans here as we read this. The Jews back in the Old Testament had a sacrificial system where they killed an animal in order to meet the requirements God had put on them for forgiveness of their sins. Even the Pagans had a sacrificial system that involved death. The concept of a living sacrifice is new. It’s foreign. I can seem them going “What does he mean “living sacrifice?” It sounds like 2 words that contradict each other. How can something living be a sacrifice?

Paul says we have only 2 choices. Sacrifice ourselves for righteousness, that is life, or for sin, which is death. There are no other options.

A living sacrifice is two things, it’s spiritual because only one who has been made alive by Christ can BE a living anything, and it’s ongoing. It’s not a one shot deal. We’re living out our sacrifice.

Romans 6:13 says, Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

The sacrifice we’re called to doesn’t bring us salvation or forgiveness. That’s finished. Jesus already did that. God found a way to be merciful to sinners in Jesus Christ. He sent Him on a mission to earth to redeem mankind through His sacrifice. But our sacrifice is in response to His and that’s what makes it, as Romans 12:1 says, “acceptable to God.”

Prepare to be transformed

Romans 12:1 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.

Paul’s letter to the Romans has been called the “gateway to the Bible.” This book is a very clear presentation of the gospel in chapters 1-11, so when Paul takes that gospel presentation and then says, “therefore…” in Romans 12:1, we should realize the weight of that. He’s building everything he’s about to say on that fact that sinners are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection.

As the letter to the Romans unfolds, you’ll see God’s wrath, our sin, His way out for us, our adoption into His family, and the fact that nothing can ever separate us from His love that He poured out in Jesus.

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Paul’s saying that everything is for Jesus and because of Jesus and about Jesus. Jesus is the reason for every season. So in light of THAT, “therefore, this is how I want you to respond” is what he is saying.

The word “present,” as in “present your bodies” is an action word, and it’s THE action word in this passage. Romans 12 verse 2 says, “be transformed.” That’s passive. We’re not the ones doing the transforming in ourselves. God is doing that work. Our role is to submit. To present ourselves. Submitting ourselves to Him pleases Him and brings about a transformation that we could never accomplish on our own. Until we’ve made that move, transformation can’t happen.

Many times the reason why we fail to change is because we’re trying to do it on our own instead of letting God take care of the transformation. Failure to prepare leaves us unchanged. Have you given yourself over to the Lord for Him to transform you?

Resolved: To innovate for God’s glory

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things. -Jonathan Edwards

Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

We’ve all been given gifts to use for the glory of God. What are yours? Better question: what are you using those talents to accomplish for the Kingdom of God? Sometimes we think we’re just supposed to go along doing the status quo, not really trying to think deeper or go farther.

But what if the Lord blessed us with gifts, not just to do what seems easy or comes naturally, but to do hard things and step out into the unknown at times? What if we used what we’ve been given to innovate for His glory?

I spent a good portion of my life trying to fit in and do what was expected of me. Maybe part of that is having been in the military, where expectations were largely that I comply and obey. I don’t know if that’s it, but whatever the cause, I felt I was supposed to do what people expected of me and it made me afraid to move on new ideas or do anything uncomfortably different from the norm.

Then I realized it didn’t matter what people thought or wanted. I started asking what God wanted. When I began acting for His glory, using the gifts He gave me, whether or not the stuff I was doing made sense to other people, it gave me a satisfaction of knowing that I was living out my calling.

We’ve got a new year ahead of us, and the thing is, it’s never too late to start living for God’s glory. How will you use your talents and gifts to do that?

Nothing can separate us

Romans 8:35-36  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

The life of a Christian isn’t without problems, though some expect it to be.  The truth is we often find ourselves facing more problems because we’re Christians.  We might be persecuted, made-fun-of, mistreated, untrusted, or any number of things because we’ve chosen to follow Christ.  Unlike the rest of the world, though, we’ve got a God on our side who gets us through it all.  Nothing can separate us from His love.

Honestly, when we get down to the bottom of why we’re attacked at times, it’s precisely to try and separate us from God.  The insults, the dangers, the threats, they’re intended to get us to turn away from Him.  Fortunately for us, God is holding onto us tightly through the storms, showing us that He’s on our side.  What the enemy meant to take us from God will in most cases only serve to draw us closer to Him as we seek shelter in Him.  In the trials, His love shows through even more.

———-  When have you found yourself seeking shelter in God’s love because of troubles in your life?

More than conquerors

Romans 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

In Christ we will prevail against any attack that comes against us because we are more than conquerors.  A conqueror will take on the enemy and claim victory, maybe even winning every battle he ever faces.  But one day, like everyone else, he’ll die.  All of the victories cannot stop death from coming for him.  All the battles won will be forgotten.

But in Christ we don’t fight temporal battles with little lasting impact.  When we fight on God’s team we fight eternity-centered battles.  Though it may not seem like relying on God to get us through the emotional effects of coworkers insulting us because of our faith could have anything to do with eternity, the underlying truth behind the fact that God is with us in everything we face for His sake is undeniably eternal in nature.

We are more than conquerors because we belong to the One who conquered death itself.  We’ll live on with Him as victors, having been glorified in Him.

———-  Are you fighting any battles right now that you need victory over?

Romans: Sharing with Christ

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

We, the adopted children of God, are now officially sons and daughters of the King of Kings.  And what does this mean beyond the fact that we are forgiven of our sins and brought into fellowship with God as part of His family?  It means we get everything.

Everything?  Yes, if we are children of God then we are heirs, just as Jesus Christ is the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).  What’s His is ours.  That’s…the glory and the suffering.

We’re called to more than just living a good life here and now on this earth when we enter into God’s family.  We are given incredible gifts from the Father, but there is more to this life than what we receive.  We have the privilege now of sharing with Christ in His sufferings.

Because we’re children of God, those who aren’t may take offense to our disposition and seek to harm us, whether physically or just emotionally and spiritually.  We may not always be happy all the time because in this world there is evil and injustice that will not be eradicated until Christ returns.  Oh, but when He does, we get to share in His glory.  When that time comes, everything in this life will have been worth it.

Romans: Our Daddy

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

What is the greatest news you’ve ever been given?  Think really hard about it and give an honest answer to that question.  Now think about why it is that this was such great news.  Now, turn your attention for one moment to news that’s even better than the best news you can think of.

Because God loved the world He had created, He sent Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) to live a perfect, sinless life and to die a sinner’s death in our place.  We deserved to be treated with the cruelty He receive.  We earned the penalty that He paid.  He took on our sin and gave us instead His own righteousness, granting us access to God.  What news is this!

Not only are we forgiven by a just God, which is wonderful, but we are now His own children, adopted into His family.  Not only is He our Father, but the language used in this text is so intensely beautiful as the writer describes God as our “Abba,” which means “daddy.” God isn’t a harsh, demanding father who is waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us.  We’re not under Him as slaves, but as His children.  He’s our Daddy who loves us and cares about us.  We can approach Him without fearing His response.  What a perfect way to understand our relationship to our Creator and Redeemer.

Romans: Spirit-led sons of God

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

 There are two types of people in this world.  There are those who are led by the Holy Spirit and there are those who are lost.  There are no other options.  When left to our own wisdom to guide ourselves, we get nowhere.  Only by the Holy Spirit can we talk in the way God has for us.

To some, this may seem a ridiculous notion, pointing to the achievements of secular mankind who has not consulted God or been Spirit-led in their discoveries throughout the ages.  It is an interesting observation, however, those who think that mankind has the potential to know all there is to know, thus disproving the existence of God, are disregarding the fact that God created all there is to discover.  The achievements of man are of no eternal consequence.

But those led by the Spirit are children of God, adopted into His family.  We have been the recipients of the greatest gift of all time: God himself.  There is nothing of greater eternal significance.  It doesn’t matter what we accomplish in this temporary life in regards to greatness because true greatness is only found in one place.  It is God’s to give.