Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I love chapter twelve of Romans, especially the verses we’ll be spending time in this week. They are rich in application.
In the first verse, Paul shifts his thoughts. Up until now he mostly focused on the theological foundation for faith, but now moves to the application.
When I was in seminary, they called the application of a sermon the “so what?”. They taught that this is the most important part of the sermon. Information without application doesn’t really do anything for a person; you’ve got to let them know what to do with the information. That is what Paul was doing when he wrote: “therefore”. He gathered up all the teaching from chapters 1– 11 and confronted us with the all-important question: “So what?” Now in chapters 12-15, he sets out to answer the question with practical application.
So what is it that Paul has been teaching? It might be helpful to look back over the passage titles from chapters 1-11. These are the subjects – found in the NIV – which Paul taught about so far:
- He began by teaching us about God’s wrath against sinful humanity.
- Then, he wrote about God’s righteous judgment.
- Next, the Jews and the Law.
- He explained God’s faithfulness.
- He taught how no one is righteous and how righteousness only comes through faith.
- Then, he gave the example of how Abraham was justified by faith.
- Next, he moved on to explain how we can have peace and hope.
- He taught how death came through Adam, but life came through Christ.
- He wrote about how we are dead to sin, but made alive in Christ.
- How we are now slaves to righteousness.
- How we are released from the Law and bound to Christ.
- He taught about the law and sin, as compared to life through the Spirit.
- He taught about living in the “already /not yet”, when he wrote about our present suffering and future glory.
- He taught about being more than conquerors in Christ.
- We even got a look into Paul’s heart concerning the anguish he had over Israel.
- Finally, he taught about God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.
This is what the “therefore” refers to; this is what Paul taught about prior to our verses this week. Let that sink in. Think about it… Every bit of this applies to you and me. Can you see why Paul ended chapter eleven with a shout of praise to God? In our passage this week, Paul says we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. It is because of all of this!
Take some time now and think about your own life. Think about all that God has done for you. You might even read over the summary above and ask God to speak to you personally.
Think about what it would look like for you to be a “living sacrifice.” We’ll unpack this more as as we move through the week. Ask God to show you how to live for Him today.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.