Romans Chapter 12


"I beseech you therefore..."


Romans 12:1  "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." 


"To beseech" means to call near, to exhort, to entreat, or to desire.  Paul is exhorting, entreating, desiring, and calling the brethren to do something that is very important.  Furthermore, he tells them that what he wants them to do is reasonable.  They are not being asked to do something that is not reasonable. 


Next, Paul is writing to the "brethren."  He is not writing to someone who has not been born of the Spirit of God and trying to get them to do something that they are not capable of doing.  Rather he is writing to the born-again children of God who are members of the church at Rome.  He is encouraging them to do something that is perfectly reasonable for them to do. 


He is calling upon them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice.  The basis for them doing this is the mercies of God.  Most of the religious world thinks that we should serve God in order to gain God's favor and to gain his love and acceptance of us.  However, Paul states that our reason for service is just the opposite.  It is because of God's love for us and because of his mercies towards us that we should serve God.  Elsewhere we read, "we love him because he first loved us."  The reason we love God is because of his love for us.  We do not love him in order to get him to love us.  Likewise, the reason for our service to him, is because of his mercies to us.


Included in God's mercies are his covenant choice of us to be his people and his quickening of us into spiritual life when we were dead in trespasses and sins. In addition, his mercies include his covenant promise to us of eternal glory, his freely giving to us of our spiritual gifts, and his establishment of this church kingdom to which we can enter and worship him in Spirit and in truth.  Moreover, his mercies embrace his giving to us the scriptures, his presence with us in the midst of our trials and tribulations, and his leadership in our attempts to walk by faith.  Furthermore, among his mercies towards us are his redemption of our sins, his establishment of a courtroom in our hearts and minds, by which we are convicted of our sins, and the gospel he has freely given us.


Because of the mercies of God, we should present our bodies a living sacrifice.  This does not mean that we should kill our bodies in sacrifice to God, but rather that we should bring our bodies into subjection and mortify the deeds of the flesh.  We do this as we live our lives to the honor and glory of God.  We do this when we walk by faith and not by sight.  We do this when we keep the Lord's commandments and live our lives to glorify him and not to satisfy the lust of the flesh.  We do this by producing the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.


We present our bodies a living sacrifice to God.  We present our bodies as a sacrifice to God by serving his children.  The Lord said, "in that ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  We are not presenting our bodies because it is popular with men to do so, or that it will bring joy to our parents or children or spouse, or that it will give us a better reputation among men, but rather, we present our bodies because it is reasonable to do so.  God has so manifest his love, grace, and mercy to us that we desire to show our gratitude to God for all his blessings to us and therefore we present our bodies in service to God.


The presentation of our bodies as a reasonable sacrifice is to be holy and acceptable unto God.  To be holy means to be separate.  We are to live lives that are separate from the way we would live them if we were following after the world and after the fleshly lusts.  We are to reckon ourselves to be separated into the true worship and service of God and not to the dictates of man.  Most of the rest of the book of Romans tells us how that we are to be holy or separate in our walk and actions.


Furthermore, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice in a way that is acceptable unto God.  II Tim. 3:16, 17 tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."  The way that we present our bodies a living sacrifice that is acceptable unto God is to live our lives according to the teachings of God's word.  By living our lives according to God's word and by worshipping God in Spirit and in truth and by ordering all aspects of our lives by his word, we know that we are presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice that is acceptable unto God.


Verse 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."

The comparison made above is between being conformed verses being transformed. To be conformed to the world is to be in form like the world. To be transformed means to change our form from being like the world to being like God in our walk and behavior.

If we do nothing we will be in form like the world. It takes a conscience effort to change our form from being like the world to being like God in our walk and behavior.

There are several verses of scripture that warn us against following after the course of this world:

   1. Mat 13:22 "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful."

   2. John 15:18 "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."
   3. 1 Cor 3:19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."
   4. Eph 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
   5. James 4:4 "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
   6. 1 John 2:15-17 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
   7. 1 John 5:19 "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."

The world under consideration is the world system in which we live and operate amongst other people. The general course of humankind is to live in conformity with the rules, styles and customs held by the general population or by the population of our peers. As can been seen by the verses above the course of this world is generally in opposition to the things of God. Our lives are not to be patterned after the general course of this world. If we did nothing, however, our lives would be in conformity with the course of this world. If we simply lived according to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, then we would be in conformity with this world. However, we are not to love the world nor the things in the world.


As we stated before to be transformed is to change form. If our normal fleshly course is to be conformed to the world, then we must do something in order to change our form or course. This changing course or form begins with the mind. Before we will permanently change our actions we must first change our minds. The accusation of the pre-flood world was: Gen 6:5 "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Their evil actions began with the evil imaginations of the thoughts of their hearts. The scriptures state: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."


Likewise, repentance (change of ones mind) must precede conversion (change of ones action). In order for us to transform our minds must be changed. The only ones who can change their minds, so as not be conformed to this world, are those who have been born of the Spirit of God. We read of some who have not been born of the Spirit that they, "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin." While our flesh is not changed in the new birth, yet God has imparted into us a new nature in the inner man.


Since we have a fleshly nature and a spiritual nature, we can choose to follow either nature. If this were not so, then why did Paul say, "be not conformed to the world" but be ye transformed by the renewing of the mindů" Obviously, we can be conformed to the world by following our fleshly nature. We can only be transformed by following our spiritual nature.


When our spiritual mind is renewed by the word of God (scriptures), then we can be transformed from a walk after the world to a walk after the things of God. This brings to us the importance of what we feed our mind. If we occupy our mind in the things of the world, then we are going to be conformed to the world. If, however, we occupy our mind in the things of God, then we will be transformed to a walk after the ways of God. Certainly, this testifies to us of the importance of spending much time reading the scriptures, studying the scriptures, meditating on the scriptures, and praying that God will give us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the scriptures.


It is only through this transforming of our ourselves through the renewing of the mind that we can prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Obviously, we do not need to prove to God what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. But we need to prove to ourselves that God's way is that good way and that our walk is acceptable to God and according to his will. We do this by renewing our minds and transforming our walk to a walk of righteousness before God.