We are called to be a living sacrifice in Romans 12:1-2, but before we can fully grasp this directive we need to focus on the devotional doxology of Romans 11:33-36:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and inscrutable are His ways! For “who has known the mind of the LORD, or who has been His counselor?” Or “has given to Him that He might be repaid?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.(Romans 11:33-36)
Now as we enter chapter 12, we wait here to grasp the fulness of these words. Before we can obey the directive to become living sacrifices, we need to know why. Why offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)?
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers… (Romans 12:1a).
Know and trust God first
God is who He is—great in character, awesome in person, and magnificent in attributes. We know Him because He makes Himself known in Word, in deed, in nature, and in the Person of Christ Jesus (Immanuel, God with us).
When I was a fresh new Christian, my greatest desire was to see Christ with my naked eyes. I wanted to hear so much to hear His voice out loud.
I have lost that desire.
Furthermore, I no longer want to see Him with my mortal eyes or hear Him with my faulty ears. No! I can’t trust myself. I would be so obsessed with His beauty that I would miss His character or understand His ways.
I can only imagine how beautiful He is, this Creator. How lovely His voice must be. His voice might echo in my soul. He who orchestrated the song of the lovebird loves us.
Satisfied, yet hungry
Today, I am satisfied and yet hungering for more. The more I’ve come to know Him in the past fifty years is wonderful and yet, I long for more. I want to know Him intimately. I understand it is a paradox and a mystery. Likewise, I gladly grasp each word of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding I’ve gained in our fellowship like rich delightful food.
Yet, the savoring only whets my appetite for more.
After breathing the doxology of Romans 13, I can enter into Romans 12 with a richer understanding. The immensity of God’s thoughts, His plans, and His ways are beyond measure. Just for a minute, marvel at God’s unfathomable wisdom in salvation.
We owe Him nothing. He has no debtor nor anyone to whom He seeks counsel.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” The ever foolish one says in his soul, “God owes me.”
Step into the With God life
Now that we gain this glimpse of God, we can whole hearty enter into the “with God” life. God is personal and our daily encounters with Him are intimate. Life with God is mute and void if there is no knowledge of the Holy. There is no joy in fellowship without wholehearted commitment on our part. When we walk with God, we are not walking with a stranger.
God encompasses the beginning and the end of all things. Nothing escapes Him, nor is He ever surprised with what is happening in your life.
All things are “from Him” because everything that exists owes their existence to Him. All things are “through Him” because what exists is sustained, directed, and cared for perfectly.
All things are “to Him” because everything that exists, exists for His purpose, glory, and honor. The heavens declare the glory of the Lord, and the firmament displays His wonders. How can the miracle of a newborn baby not move your heart?
Listen! God’s Word declares His greatness. He is trustworthy—worthy of our trust. He is merciful, gracious, and slow to anger in His personal dealing with us.
Better to hear and follow His voice than our fallen sin nature, the world, or the enemy of our soul.
My heart for you
My prayer is that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Why? So, you can wholeheartedly yield to Him. This is how we please Him in everything we do, bearing fruit and increasing in our knowledge of the Holy.
As we walk in the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with God, something wonderful happens. The empowering Holy Spirit leads us and we discover the full awareness of His presence.
He who is watching over you is watching over you with love.
Be steadfast and patient in your day-to-day dealings. Give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances (for this is His will for you in Christ Jesus). He who is faithful is faithful with us.
Trust in Christ Jesus, who rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God before citizens of this earth. We are heavenly bound not earthly bound.
Yielded and Transformed
With the perspective of God’s nature, we can do what Paul pleads us to do: become a living sacrifice.
Honestly, we can’t wrap our minds around the fullness of God’s wisdom and knowledge, but we can trust Him. We cannot understand everything in His judgments: why He does what He does or doesn’t do. But we can trust that His mysterious ways are good and faithful.
My prayer for you is this: As you live the with God life may live in the harmony of His perfect, pleasing, and acceptable will.
The transformed mind knows God, hungers for more, and finds rest in knowing the unknowable riches of the wisdom of God. His mercy endures forever. Amen.
The essential with-God life is living a “Christ-centered” life. We are new and transformed daily. Our character and nature changed, not by the path we take, but by Who walks with us.
Go, live in the with-God life and enjoy the fulness of His love. It’s not an impossibility – it’s an adventure!
Here I am. I yield wholeheartedly my body to You. I leave everything I am and have to your Love and power. Lord, I cannot grasp the mysteries of You, but please, if You will, grasp me by Your righteous right hand and don’t let me go. My hands are slippery, and I don’t trust myself. I trust You and only You—Your will be done, not mine. I love You! Amen.
Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable essential worship.
Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by the renewing of your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern God’s will and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.Romans 12:1-2 (The Voice)