Rom 12:1-2 “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. 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.”
Paul concludes the previous chapter by declaring that everything is of, through, and to our Lord, and He is worthy of glory forever. It is from this premise that Paul makes his plea in verse one here. Our God is worthy of everything that is required of us in order to serve Him. We need to earnestly encourage each other in that service.
Notice that Paul is not entreating the whole world to. His desire in this matter is directed to those who have been conceived and born from the same source as he. Paul does not make this plea without reason. He does not expect his brethren to respond of their own accord.
Paul’s plea is based on the mercies of God. The life we live that allows us the facility to hear the gospel is grounded in God’s mercy. Our desire to be obedient to the gospel is grounded in God’s mercy. That we are not utterly consumed is by the mercy of God.
Not in our own strength, but by the mercies of God, we should present (willing come) our bodies a living sacrifice. This is not a legal service, for under the law the sacrifice was to be killed. Our sacrifice is found in living a life that gives glory to God and not ourselves. It is a sacrifice born of the love we have for Him and not from some fear of terrible retribution if we fail.
Our God is not unreasonable in His expectations of us. Remember that we have nothing to present to Him that He has not first given to us. It is because of what He has already given that we are able to present our bodies as a holy living sacrifice. We are acceptable unto God because He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
When we come to present our bodies a holy, acceptable, living sacrifice to God, we are not going to come after the ways of man. We have no right or reason to expect to conform (be patterned after) this world. We cannot live our life willfully wallowing in sin six days a week and think that we can show up to church on Sunday morning and be a living sacrifice. God will never find that attitude acceptable.
Instead, Paul says we are to be transformed (changed) from our old ways. This occurs because our minds have been renovated (see Strong’s). As Paul declared in the outset, this is all hinged on the mercies of God. When we follow God, it is not because we changed our mind but because our minds have been changed by His mercy.
This transformation is not so that we can boast of being better than we were. Rather it is the door by which we prove (discern, understand) the will of God. It is by His mercy that we understand that His will is good (beneficial), acceptable (well-pleasing), and perfect (complete). In this we are brought to the place to truly desire for His will to be done.
May we acknowledge with our lives that the things God requires of us are, by His mercy, a reasonable service (worship)!