By the Mercies of God

Posted by: on Jul 17, 2016 | No Comments

A message from Pastor Jake:Pastor Jake

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1 NASU).

The Apostle Paul, having finished the presentation of the first eleven chapters of this Epistle begins here with the word “therefore;” meaning for all the reasons previously presented. He now proceeds to close his letter with an urgent plea showing the practical influence that God’s word should have on the believer’s life. Therefore the apostle calls on us to dedicate our lives without reserve unto God.

From expressions like these in the beginning of this chapter, it is clear that the apostle never supposed that the tendency of the doctrines of justification by grace through faith would lead to teachings of “now being under the abundances of grace and no longer under the penalty of the law” made it safe to sin. But it is plain that Paul never intended such foolishness to be taught (Rom. 6:1). After having fully stated and established those doctrines, he concludes that we ought therefore to lead holy lives, and on the ground of them he exhorts people to do it.

The word “mercies” in verse one, denotes favor shown to the undeserving. The word “by” denotes that God’s extended mercy is the reason why we should “present our bodies.” So great has been the mercy of God, that this constitutes a reason why we should present our bodies in the stated manner. The particular mercy to which the apostle here refers, is that shown to we whom he is addressing. He has proved that all men were by nature under sin; that we had no claim on God; and that He had showed great compassion in giving His Son to die for us in this state, and in pardoning our sins. This is the ground or reason why we should devote ourselves to God.

As the Apostle makes his plea he urges the people to “present their bodies;” this is a metaphor taken from the Israelite’s practice of bringing sacrifices to the altar of God. The person offering picked out the choicest of his flock, one with no spot or blemish (holy), brought it to the altar, and presented it there as an atonement for his sin. But we ought to freely and willing present our bodies “a living sacrifice,” not a dead sacrifice as the Israelite’s had offered, but that we should become dead to sin but alive to God. Thus we are exhorted by the apostle to voluntarily give ourselves up in the spirit of sacrifice; to be as wholly the Lord’s property as the whole burnt-offering was, no part being devoted to any other service.

Romans 12:1

The expression “living” probably means that we are to devote the vigorous, active powers of our bodies and souls to the service of God. The Israelite’s offered their innocent victim, slew it, and presented it dead. It could not be presented again. In opposition to this, we are to present ourselves with all our living, vital energies. Our Lord does not require a service of death or inactivity.

Holy denotes, without spot, blemish of any defect. No other sacrifice could be made to God. The Israelite’s were expressly forbidden to offer what was lame, or blind, or in anyway deformed. If offered without any of these defects, it was regarded as holy, that is, appropriately set apart, or consecrated to God. In like manner we are to consecrate to God our best faculties; the vigor of our minds, and talents, and time. Not the feebleness of sickness merely; not old age alone; not time which we cannot otherwise employ, but the first vigor and energies of the mind and body; our youth, and health, and strength. Our sacrifice to God is to be not divided, separate; but it is to be entire and complete. Many are expecting to come to God in times of sickness; much in old age; thus purposing to offer unto Him the blind and the lame. The sacrifice is to be free from sin. It is not to be a divided, and broken, and polluted service. It is to be with the best affections of our hearts and lives.

The way of life our Lord established demands vigorous and active powers in the service of God. There is something very affecting in the view of such a sacrifice; in regarding life, with all its energies, its intellectual, and moral, and physical powers, as one long sacrifice; one continued offering unto God. An immortal being presented to Him; presented voluntarily, with all our energies, from day to day, until the sunset of our days, so that it may be said that we have lived an offering made freely unto God. This is the WAY of life our Lord established.

We are exhorted here to offer such a sacrifice as will be acceptable to God; one that is living and holy; that is, the body being perfect in its kind, and the intention of the heart of the one offering be such that both can be acceptable and well pleasing to God.

Romans 12:1 - A Living Sacrifice

No sacrifice should be made which is not acceptable to God. We are to do just what God requires of us and no more, and that will be acceptable to God. And this fact, that what we do is acceptable to God, is the highest reward we can have. If God approves what we do it does not matter what people think of us. To please Him should be our highest aim; the fact that we do please him is our highest reward. This is our spiritual service of worship, this is our spiritual ministry.

James C Sanford


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