Some Key Passages in Romans – part 15

Have you now memorized Romans 12:1-2 as I suggested earlier? If not, take a minute right now to start working on it. At least for now memorize the first verse.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Our sacrificial offering, placing ourselves on the altar and thereby surrendering our lives, is to be holy and acceptable to God.

The word “holy” doesn’t mean “religious.” Instead, it means “set apart for” or “dedicated to” God. When we place ourselves on the altar, we no longer live for ourselves. If we live, it is by God’s mercy and for God’s sake. Period. To sacrifice ourselves — or, as Jesus put it, to deny ourselves — means we hold nothing back from God. We cannot follow Jesus while telling him we reserve the right to go home and rest once in awhile. We cannot be devoted to the Father while holding back some part of ourselves for our own pleasure. We cannot claim to be consumed by our dedication to God while continually calculating how much good or pleasure we might derive from this or that path.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,  for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God, Paul wrote to the Colossians. And to the Galatians he said, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

Wherever we look in Scripture, the message is the same: We are called to give ourselves to our Lord unreservedly, totally, sacrificially.

When we do that — and no less — we can be sure our self-offering is acceptable to God. a better translation would be “pleasing,” since our desire is not merely to be accepted by God but to be pleasing to him. We want to gladden his heart by giving to him all of ourselves that he is worth. And that of course means all of ourselves.

The word “worship” is from an Old English root meaning worthiness. To give to God all he is worth is worship. In the Bible translation quoted above (the New Revised Standard Version) Paul says our worship is to be “spiritual” while in the old King James translation we read “reasonable service.”Eugene Peterson in The Message says our devotion to God is “the best thing you can do for him.”

Which is the better translation? I suppose if I were trying to make my own paraphrase of this text I would write that such total dedication to God “is the only thing that makes sense.” In light of God’s total self-giving to us in Christ Jesus, it only makes sense that our response must be to give ourselves to God totally.

Anything less than radical self-surrender to God makes no sense. It is nonsense, foolishness.


May I ask a bit of a favor of you? I don’t like “advertising” my blogs or trying to push them. Yet I would like more readers. Would you be willing to suggest others give my blogs a look?

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About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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