Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It speaks about our response to the great gift of salvation and how we are to live our lives in the joy of our salvation. In Christ we have been given everything we need, so we are free to give everything we have. But what does that really mean? And, what does that look like in our everyday lives? How do we live in a way that reflects the new creation we are in Christ, and how do we live in a manner that brings honor and glory to Him? Romans 12 addresses those things and begins with the clearest of statements. Jesus gave everything for us, when He sacrificed Himself upon the altar of the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. We are to do the same for Him. We are to give everything for Him:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
This tells us that we are to offer up all that we are to the Lord’s will. This is a beautiful verse of commitment. It speaks of trust. It speaks of a complete surrender of self. And, it speaks of putting total faith in God. When we understand what Jesus has done for us, His immeasurable love for us, we can understand that He is worthy of our love and devotion, our surrender and our sacrifice. Therefore, there is nothing that He can’t ask of us. Presenting ourselves a “living sacrifice” is our “reasonable service.” Now that might sound kind of scary, but when we remember that He is good and loving and faithful, we can trust that whatever He asks of us, He will also provide to us what we need to accomplish it. Romans 12:6 speaks of the many gifts and how they differ among the members of the body. It’s here that the book of Romans begins to speak of how we are to live. Note that in the verse prior to Paul’s speaking of our gifts, he first reminds us that we have a unity, one with another:
Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
God has not given the same gift to each of us, but He has given to each of us the same Spirit. That means we have unity with other believers, and every believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering them to live “acceptable unto God” and in “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). According to the gifts God has given us, He will call us. And, according to the power of His Spirit indwelling us, He will qualify and equip us. Finding rest in the Lord’s faithfulness will enables us to trust and surrender. Then He can work through us, in ways that we could never imagine. When we lay down our lives for the Lord (Romans 12:1) and remember that it is by His power we are raised up, equipped and empowered to live godly lives and serve Him (Romans 12:2), then, by the power of His Spirit, we are able to live as Paul exhorts us to live in Romans 12: Be kind to others (vs 10), be diligent, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord (vs 11), rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, faithful in prayer (vs 12), give to the saints in need, be hospitable (vs 13), bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (vs 14), rejoice and weep with others (vs 15), live in harmony, be humble (vs 16), do the right thing always (vs 17), live peaceably (vs 18), love your enemy (vs 19-20), overcome evil with good (vs 21) We often hear the motto for Christian life as “Let Go and Let God,” but a pastor friend of mine changes that to “Trust God and Get Going.” Trusting God flows from a heart that loves God– and that fulfills the great commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). “Getting going” is motivated by a heart of gratitude for what God has done in us, and it fuels a desire to love and serve others. That fulfills the second commandment that Jesus gave us, “Love your neighbor as yourself. So today commit to being a Romans 12 Christian, reflecting the transformation of new life that you have been given in Christ and fueled by the Holy Spirit to reflect Christ and share His love with others. Surrender yourself to the Lord’s will and be transformed to live for Him.
…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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