Romans 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.
Whenever you see the word “therefore”, you should read before it to find out what it is “there for”. In the case of our passage for this evening, Paul has been expressing the wonder of God’s grace in the world drawing both Jews and Gentiles to Himself. Because God is so very gracious and merciful, the only appropriate response from us is to present ourselves like the Jews presented a sacrificial animal. We give our physical bodies to be laid upon the altar of God for Him to do with as He pleases. This means we no longer claim the right to do as we please. Unlike the animal sacrifices, we remain living and functioning at God’s direction. It is wonderful to become God’s tool for His use, but the problem with being a living sacrifice is that we can climb off that altar. The sacrifice is holy. In the Old Testament, the altar was most holy and sanctified the gift. We cannot pollute God when we are surrendered; He sanctifies us. That means He makes us completely His and only for His use. This process is pleasing to God. Since we are to be for His use alone, we should not conform to the ungodly pattern of the world. The process of being sanctified begins with the transformation of our minds. As our way of thinking is renewed, we begin to see life in a different light. We see ourselves as servants and not masters. We see fulfillment in serving God and not in serving self. Only when our minds are renewed are we then able to test and approve of God’s will. Before that we think our own will must be God’s will. Once our minds are transformed by His Spirit and Word, we can discern His good, pleasing and perfect will. Then we truly begin to live life as He meant us to live it.