Romans 12:1 I 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.
Paul makes a significant shift in the letter, from doctrine to application, from theology to exhortation. The readers of this letter must respond to the gospel as Paul has laid it out in chs. 1-11. This gospel is all about God’s grace in Christ, received by faith, bringing freedom from sin, and new eternal life that is experienced in part now. The readers must respond by offering themselves to God as vessels of honor to be used by God for the mission to reach the world. It is difficult to determine what idea the phrase “by the mercies of God” modifies. Does Paul make his appeal by these mercies or are we to offer our bodies by these mercies? Probably the latter. Paul invites the readers to realize that God grants mercies to make all this happen. We cooperate with what God wants to do in our lives. A living sacrifice is one that is totally committed to Jesus as Lord and Master. This life has been placed on the altar of consecration. It is significant that Paul says “bodies” because these same bodies can also be slaves to sin (ch. 6). This is how we can use our bodies to God’s glory and not selfish desires. This sacrifice is “holy and acceptable” because it comes through the atoning blood of Jesus. He has purified our bodies because they are no longer ours but God’s. This is our spiritual worship and what our lives should be all about. This verse calls for the response of full commitment because of what God has done for us. This is the way we can show that we worship God. We must become God’s holy instruments in this world.
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