Romans 12:1-2 NIV
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Because of What He Did
“In view of God’s mercy” is what jumped out to me immediately as I began to read this passage of Scripture this evening. The word translated as “in view of” also means “through, because of, on account of, and by the reason of.” All of these work. We are to do what it says here to do because of what Jesus did for us on that cross in dying for our sins. For, because of what he did for us on that cross, it makes it possible for us to do what this says.
So, what exactly did Jesus Christ do for us on that cross? Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, was born in the likeness of men, lived on the earth as fully God yet fully human, suffered as we suffer, was tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin, and then was put to death on a cross by his enemies. But this was in God’s plan for him that he should die on that cross for the sins of the whole world (John 1; Philippians 2; Isaiah 53; the book of Hebrews; the gospels, etc.).
Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us on that cross so that when he died, our sins died with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan, and death on our behalf. For 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 died and was raised. And he died so that we might be crucified with Christ in death to sin and that we might be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him (2 Corinthians 5:14,21; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; Romans 6:1-23).
For, Jesus Christ did not die that horrible and painful death on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that when we die one day we get to go to heaven. He died to change us, to transform us, to turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. He died so that we would deny self, daily die to sin, and daily walk in obedience to him (Acts 26:18; Luke 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17; 1 John 1:5-9; 1 John 2:3-6).
For, his grace, which brings salvation, instructs 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. For, Jesus 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10).
And the truth that is in Christ Jesus is that we are to no longer live like the ungodly, giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. For that is not the way we should have learned Christ. For we are to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like Christ (Ephesians 4:17-24; Romans 6:1-23; Luke 9:23-26).
For, because Jesus put our sin to death with him on that cross, and because he was raised back to life, we can now die with him to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him. For our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, no longer living under the control of sin. For if we obey sin, it leads to death, but if we obey obedience, it leads to righteousness and sanctification, and its end is eternal life (Romans 6:1-23).
Living Sacrifices, Holy and Pleasing to God
I hope y’all get this. When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, we die with Christ to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him. Our old self was put to death with Christ so we will no longer be enslaved to sin but so we will be slaves (servants) of God and of his righteousness, to the glory and praise of God, and in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit who now lives within us.
This is NOT works-based salvation! This is NOT us trying to earn God’s grace or our salvation. It is only because of God’s grace to us that any of us can die with Christ to sin and live to God and to his righteousness. It is only because of his grace to us that any of us can be putting sin to death in our lives and living by the Spirit in obedience to our Lord. For this is not anything that any of us can do in our own flesh, because flesh does not put flesh to death. It feeds the flesh.
Okay, with that aside, we are being urged here, in view of (or on account of) God’s mercy to us – his mercy which is described in detail with Bible references in the section above – to offer our bodies, our lives to God as living sacrifices. This is not a mere suggestion. This is what should be the case if we are true followers of Jesus Christ, and if we have died with him to sin and if we are living to him and to his righteousness.
We, as true followers of Jesus Christ, are to surrender our lives to the Lord to be lived according to his word and for his praise and glory. And “holy” means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. And we are to be set apart to God and to his service. And we are to live lives which are pleasing to God, which is in accord with what his word teaches us with regard to holy living.
[Rom 8:8; 2 Co 5:9; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:10; Col 1:9-11; 1 Thes 2:4; 1 Thes 4:1; 2 Tim 2:4; Heb 11:6; Heb 13:6; 1 Jn 3:22]
And this is our true, proper, reasonable, and acceptable worship of God. For we can sing worship songs all we want and never worship God at all, and we can not sing worship songs and still worship God, although singing should be included in our worship. For true worship of God is not in rituals or in the externals of religious practice, but true worship comes from the heart which is surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord to walk in his ways and in his truth.
And we are to no longer be conformed the ways of this sinful world. We are not to be having all the same conversations, and watching all the same junk, and telling all the same off-color jokes, and wasting away hour after hour just watching TV or playing games or just surfing the internet and reading or viewing stuff that is of no real value to us or being obsessed with entertaining and being entertained like the world, in practice.
I am certainly not suggesting that we run off and cut ourselves off from the world and live in a monastery and have no connections with the outside world. We can live in the world and be aware of what is going on in the world and still live lives which are separate from (unlike) the world. But we don’t have to be like the world to connect with the people of the world, otherwise what do we have to offer them that is different?
Anyway, Jesus Christ died on that cross to give us new lives not like our old lives, and we are to be living holy lives, pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world. And then we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to be taking the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth and making disciples of Christ of people of all nations, teaching them to obey our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). Then we will be able to discern the perfect will of God for our lives and then do it.
Because He Lives
By Gloria Gaither / William J. Gaither
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living just because He lives
And then one day, I’ll cross that river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns
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