Romans 12

I like Paul’s appeal at the beginning of the chapter.  His “therefore,” to me, refers back to the 11 previous chapters.  Therefore, since God has done so much for us and has given us the ability to have eternal life, by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we ought to give our lives to Him.  In fact, that’s our reasonable service.  Because He’s given us the opportunity to cheat death and live eternally, since He’s given us His only Son, it’s only reasonable that we devote our lives to Him. 

 1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

The ESV says “spiritual worship,” and this version tends to be very literal, but I really like the way the New King James renders this phrase – and that is, “reasonable service.”  How can we do any less for Him when He’s done so much for us?

The rest of chapter 12 always frightens me a bit, as I live my daily life.  I wonder sometimes, “Is it possible to live this way?  Am I actually capable of doing all this?”  It seems so impossible at times.  Do I think too highly of myself?  Do I love everyone?  Do I show honor to others?  Am I patient when trials occur?  Do I seek to show hospitality?  Am I constant in prayer?  Do I contribute to the needs of the saints – in a real way?  Do I bless those who make my life difficult?  These are things we deal with on a daily basis!  People at work aren’t always seeking to bless me.  Do I always seek their best interests?  Do I associate with the lowly?  Am I conceited?  Do I seek to love and respect my enemies? 

The honest answer hurts.  I am not so perfect.  But that’s the beauty of God’s plan.  We are saved by grace, through faith in the risen Jesus.  He expects us to live righteously – that’s our reasonable service for what He has done for us.  But I am human.  I make mistakes.  My human nature comes through at times and I fail.  But as I seek the Jesus of the Bible, my desire to please Him and serve Him becomes stronger.  His Spirit gives me power to live as I ought as I mature in Him. 

So why don’t I just sin?  Since I’m saved by grace what’s the big fat deal?  The truth is that in any true relationship, one seeks to please the other.  If a person has a real relationship with the God of the Bible, that person will seek to please Him.  And He will reward that faith and dedication with eternal life.

2 thoughts on “Romans 12”

  1. About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

    Peace Be With You

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