Romans 12:1-2 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. 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.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith – a faith that is not of ourselves, but is gifted to us by God, and which is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ – we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives, but created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are delivered from our slavery to sin by the grace of God so we will now be slaves of God and of his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24; Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 12:1-2; John 6:44).
Therefore, we are not to let sin reign any more in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. We are not to present our members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but we are to present ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and our members to God as instruments for righteousness. For, if we continue living as slaves to sin and as slaves to unrighteousness, and sin is what we obey, it will end in death, not in life eternal with God (Romans 6:12-16).
And Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For if we live according to the flesh, and sin is what we practice, and righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, it will end in death, not in life everlasting with God. And it means we don’t really know God and he doesn’t really know us, and we are not born of God (Romans 8:1-14; 1 John 3:4-10).
So, because of God’s grace and mercy to us in sending Jesus Christ to the cross to die for our sins, we are to give our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Our lives no longer belong to us to do with them what we please, but they now belong to the Lord to be used for his purposes, and for his glory and praise. And we now live holy lives, separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus in mind, heart, and character.
And this is our spiritual worship of God, this giving of our lives to the Lord as living sacrifices. And without this we can’t truly worship the Lord. Now, I am not saying that until we are perfect that we can’t worship God, because not one of us will be perfect until we go to be with the Lord for eternity. But if we are still living in sin, and sin is what we practice, and righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice (in conduct), then we can’t be true worshipers of God (Romans 12:1).
Therefore, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. We are not to be like the world but we are to be like Jesus. We should not love (prefer, long for) the world and the things of this world, but we should be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from the cravings of sin and of the things of this world to desiring after the Lord and wanting to do what pleases him. And then we can test and discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect in his sight (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15-17).
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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