The WORD for Today is Romans 12.
Romans 12 is another wonderful chapter of Scripture with all kinds of practical guidance for our lives. But every bit of that wisdom for living finds its fulcrum in these first two verses. Our reason, the result, even a perspective from the long view is all stated in verses 1 and 2.
The chapter begins with “Therefore” and points us back to chapter 11 and Paul’s global perspective on God’s plan to show mercy on us all. Chapter 11 concludes with a doxology that praises the wisdom and knowledge of God who has established a plan of grace and mercy that is beyond our understanding. “Therefore,” the only appropriate response from those of us who are the recipients of God’s lavish mercy, is something utterly amazing.
Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, calls us to offer ourselves as sacrifices. Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of “a sacrifice” offered to a deity, I think of being killed and placed on an altar. (And in fact, we do share (through faith) in the sacrifice and death of Jesus on the cross.) But this is different. Paul is not calling for a sacrifice in death. He is pointing us toward a “living sacrifices.” We are called, in response to God’s mercy and in view of His majesty, to offer the actual, daily living of our lives to God in service to and worship of Him.
What a contrast! The call of this world (and our sinful flesh) is to offer our lives in worship of ourselves (or whatever vice controls us). It is a waste of who we are and a sacrifice totally unworthy of our potential and calling. That is the “pattern of this world” and Paul invites us to break that pattern and forge a new way. A new way that is guided by the Holy Spirit and pleasing to God.
Notice the last line of verse 2. Then we will know, test, and approve the will of God as good and pleasing, even perfect. From that point on chapter 12 outlines what a “living sacrifice” life looks like. Read on the the rest of chapter 12 and apply it to your thoughts, attitudes and actions … in view of God’s mercy. 🙂
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. Romans 12:1-2 NIV