Over the past several weeks we have looked at God’s amazing Grace, His Good News, through John Chapter 3. In doing so we had a glimpse into the doctrines of Salvation and Justification.
So what is next? Well in theological terms the Doctrine of Sanctification follows. This is a big word to mean the process of growing holy, mature in our faith.
There are many ways in which one grow in their faith, through prayer, attending a good bible preaching church, fellowship with like believers, and studying God’s word to name a few.
A second question comes to mind, how to set about these things. Here I believe the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, set forth the steps in Romans Chapter 12 verses 1 and 2:
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.
2 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.
Let’s breakdown God’s word and see what he has for us today.
1) Beseech you therefore brethren:
Beseech a word we do not use much anymore means to Ask, Plead, or Beg Paul is begging for the reader to do something but what? Before the what can be answered we need to know the why and here the answer is pointed out by the word
Therefore here an Adverb
- (conjunctive) For that or this purpose, referring to something previously stated.
- (conjunctive) Consequently, by or in consequence of that or this cause; referring to something previously stated.
So let’s look again at the beginning of this verse it could be worded: I beg you brethren or brothers, based upon all you have just learned in the previous Chapter(s). Let us pause here and look at just chapter 11 and see if we can glimpse at what Paul was writing about.
· Verse 1 asks the question, has God forsaken His people (Israel)?
· Verse 2 Answers not all for some He foreknew and will never forsake
· Verse 3 tells us that although Israel stumbles God is able to use that for good.
· Verse 11 we see the purpose is all this, Salvation (through Christ) comes to the gentiles or non-Jews.
· Verse 25 gives the promise of hope, that many of Israel will be saved
· Verses 34-36 God is in control of all and deserves all the Glory.
Again Paul is begging the reader (brethren or believers) to pay attention, remembering God’s righteousness, man’s unrighteousness and punishment therein that the end is not final or complete; there is hope for those who are justified and live a sanctified life.
2) Mercies of God: with all the compassion, the depths in which compassion resides, emotions, longings,
Look Paul could have easily left this out and we still would pay attention to it. I mean he is Paul writer of 2/3 of the New Testament. Yet we dare not ignore his phrase, for it makes a statement. Paul is saying not of my own power do I ask (beg) this of you but by all the power the compassion of God Himself.
Gill: "I beseech you"; as an ambassador of Christ, and as though in his stead: nor are they enforced by terrors, threats, and menaces, but "by the mercies of God"; that is, the abundant mercy of God, displayed in their election, regeneration, and calling; than which, nothing can have a greater influence on a believer, to engage him to holiness of life and conversation;
3) Present Your bodies: yield your body, your speech, your actions, your very life
This is the complete deal you cannot get away with acting all pious on Sunday and being a worldly foul mouth jerk the remainder of the week. Who are you trying to fool? God?
Ray Stedman: What you do with your body matters to God. He wants you to use your body for his glory in every situation and to seek to know him intimately and serve him joyfully in every circumstance, not just in church but every moment of every day:
Poole: that you give, dedicate, and offer up, as spiritual priests yourselves, or, your whole man; a part is put for the whole; the body is named, because it is the soul’s instrument in the service of God.
4) Living sacrifice, holy: unblemished as a firstling lamb, but Alive not Dead;
Alive in Christ and not dead in sin
Unblemished, there are a number of reason for this the best I can think of is God’s sacrifice for us was Holy and Unblemished (sinless Christ). Does He deserve anything less from us?
5) Acceptable unto God: well pleasing, brings glory to; unashamed
Poole Acceptable unto God; or, well pleasing unto God. So were the appointed sacrifices under the law, Leviticus 1:9; so was the sacrifice of Christ the Lamb of God, Ephesians 5:2; and so are all spiritual sacrifices under the gospel, Philippians 4:18 Hebrews 13:16.
6) Reasonable: is what you’re doing rational?
- pertaining to speech or speaking
- pertaining to the reason or logic
- spiritual, pertaining to the soul
- agreeable to reason, following reason, reasonable, logical
Webster 1828 1. Having the faculty of reason; endued with reason; as a reasonable being. [In this sense, rational is now generally used.]
2. Governed by reason; being under the influence of reason; thinking, speaking or acting rationally or according to the dictates of reason; as, the measure must satisfy all reasonable men.
3. Conformable or agreeable to reason; just; rational.
** By indubitable certainty, I mean that which does not admit of any reasonable cause of doubting.
Reasonable to believers should mean that there is no doubt in your mind, your heart that these actions will Glorify God and that it is biblically logical for you to undertake them.
As an example how many have heard someone say, ‘I plan on starting a church I am sure that is what God wants me to do’. On the surface, being a pastor (note they did not say that) and starting a bible believing and preaching church is a good thing. But how many of us who have heard that immediately think wait a minute; this person is not biblically qualified (the only acceptable standard) to start or pastor a church. What might seem acceptable is not reasonable for them to do this.
- service rendered for hire
- any service or ministration: the service of God
- the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law
- to perform sacred services
Everyone has a calling from God a service they can provide that Glorifies God and edifies the body of believers. This can take many forms it is our responsibility to seek God’s guidance on what it is He would have us do.
Note Acceptable comes before Reasonable. We are not to determine on our own what is “reasonably acceptable” to God and then do that. No we are to determine what God finds acceptable and do that which is reasonable for us to do.
Let us look at some scripture that will help determine what God finds acceptable:
Leviticus 22:20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you
God deserves nothing but the best; one should not attempt to offer Him anything less.
Ps 19:14 14Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
If our words match our heart, this is acceptable to the Lord
Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
The righteous do not have to ask if something they are doing or saying is acceptable they know in their hearts the answer
Is 56:7 7Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Joining ourselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, keep the Sabbath
Jeremiah 6:20 (15-25) 20To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.
Offering or doing something to cover up sin is NOT acceptable
Romans 14:17-19 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men
Note that serving Christ in peace and righteousness is acceptable.
Ephesians 5:10 (7-16) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Walking as children of light is acceptable
Phil 4:18 (14-18) 18But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.
Supporting those who share the Gospel is acceptable
1 Tim 2:3 (1-3) 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
Prayer is acceptable, as long as we do not ask amiss.
1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
Helping widows and orphans is acceptable
1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Offering up spiritual sacrifices is acceptable
1 Peter 2:20 (19-21) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Enduring difficulties by relying upon God is acceptable
One last point on the word reasonable that we find in Rom 12:1, it is used only one other time in scripture in 1st Peter:
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby
The translated word “word” here is the same Greek word, Logikos. One can only deduce, especially considering Peter’s writing style, that he was inferring that the Word was reasonable for all, infants (milk) to mature (meat).
Romans 12:1 MHCC
The apostle having closed the part of his epistle wherein he argues and proves various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel principles. He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. (And is understood by those around us)
Wiersbe comments that...
The Christian life is not based on ignorance but knowledge, and the better we understand Bible doctrine (Romans 1-11), the easier it is to obey Bible duties (Romans 12-16). When people say, “Don’t talk to me about doctrine—just let me live my Christian life!” they are revealing their ignorance of the way the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer. “It makes no difference what you believe, just as long as you live right” is a similar confession of ignorance. It does make a difference what you believe, because what you believe determines how you behave!" (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)
One of my favorite Hymns tells me what reasonable service is to God:
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Next time we will look at verse 2.