17th March 2012

The Only Sensible Response

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

The apostle Paul has spent a lot of time in the epistle to the Romans developing a theology of salvation in which he shows the wonder of Grace that provides redemption, justification and eternal life for us, an act solely of God, without any contribution from us.

Then in Romans 12:1, he draws the only rational, ‘reasonable’, response that should flow from us—that we present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. But what is a ‘living sacrifice’, and how can we be ‘holy and acceptable to God’? Today we will begin a series that looks at these questions.

A living sacrifice is almost a contradiction of terms. Sacrifice conjures up the idea of a slain animal, and living suggests that it continues to live. But the phrase has been carefully selected and says all that it means and means all that it says.

Notice how the apostle captures this thought again in his epistle to the churches in Galatia. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

If we believe in Jesus’ saving work for us, this is the position in which we find ourselves—dead but raised and alive in Christ, and this has some serious consequences for us.

The apostle Paul again, this time to the church in Colosse, says in Colossians 3:1-3, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

This then means that we have to have a completely different take on life, one that is oriented to God and not toward self, toward heavenly things and not earthly things. This series will look at these different points of view as laid out for us in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Let us begin by seeking God’s mind in these matters, asking that we might understand his will for us as his dear children in Jesus Christ.

Father in heaven, how blessed we are to be able to call you Father through the work you accomplished in Jesus. Bless us further with a mind that is willing to yield to your lead and direction as you speak to us through your word and as we seek to be the living sacrifice that is the only sensible thing for us to be in the light of all you have done for us.

Study by  David Stirk

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