Summary of passage: Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.
6) Personal Question. My answers:
Romans 9:15: This is the verse God says He will have mercy and compassion on whom He chooses. This shows us we are all in God’s grace to be chosen as believers and God is the one in control of whom He chooses and He doesn’t.
Romans 9:23: God chose all of those who comes to Him in advance. He showed his wrath and power in order to demonstrate his glory to those of us whom He shows mercy to.
Ephesians 2:4-5: God gives us His mercy when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins to make us alive again.
1 Peter 1:3: Similar to Ephesians, God demonstrates His mercy when though the living hope in His Son Jesus whom He brought back to life in order that we can live with Him forever.
7) Personal Question. My answer: First, by choosing me and my family to be believers and to be saved. Second, by blessing the US with all of its riches so that we live an easy life. By continuing to bless my family financially, spiritually, mentally, physically, etc every day of every year. By always being there.
8 ) According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sacrifice is “an act of offering to deity something precious; especially the killing of a victim on an altar, destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else or to suffer loss of, give up , renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief or end”. According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a sacrifice is “a religious act belonging to worship in which offering is made to God of some material object belonging to the offerer–this offering being consumed in the ceremony, in order to attain, restore, maintain, or celebrate friendly relations with the deity.”
The history of sacrifice in the Old Testament would fill a book. Sacrifices have been around since Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:4-5 where it states Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice to God. Furthermore, we’d need another book to dive into the different types of sacrifices offered in the Old Testament to God for many purposes. BSF is sending us to Leviticus which is the Day of Atonement sacrifice where the High Priest had to cover himself and the Israelites (figuratively here) with the blood of an animal in order to approach God and cleanse themselves of sin. Hebrews tells us Jesus is the final sacrifice that takes away all of our sins in God’s eyes and cleanses us.
To answer the question, the Old Testament sacrifices served one goal: to make ourselves acceptable and pleasing to God through honoring Him, worshipping Him, and giving Him glory. We had to atone for our sins in various ways and thank Him for all He’d done. Paul is urging us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice (our body being our heart, mind, soul, body, and spirit–all of us) to God. To live our lives for God in every way. To let His will reign, not ours.
9) Ordinary is living each day with Him in mind and as the center. Choosing Him in the little things in life: forgiving a wrong, helping the poor and downtrodden, letting kind words out instead of angry words, being generous and compassionate with people, and meeting them where they are at. Extraordinary examples are Mother Theresa, pastors, Popes, monks, nuns, those who work in the Christian industries such as non-profits, book publishing, bible publishing, missionaries, Focus on the Family, and everyone else I am forgetting who strive to do God’s work here on earth (this includes us whose names will never be known but who do God’s work every day!).
Conclusions: Mercy and living for God. Great topics that are huge and BSF did a good job on focusing on the importance of it all. 1) God chose us out of His mercy. 2) We do God’s work by giving all of ourselves up to Him. Every day. In the daily grind at work and at home. Living for Him. Raising our kids for Him. Helping others for Him. Love it!
End Notes: [Same as Yesterday’s just for Verse 1 only] Chapters 12:1-15:33. Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter. This does not mean he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point because as we saw Chapters 6-8 touched on this already but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life. These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in Chapters 1-11. In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believer and thinking. Faith expresses itself in obedience.
“Therefore” It is Paul’s pattern to begin a letter with a strong doctrinal section and follow with exhortations to Christian living. Paul begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them. Here, God gives us all things. Now, how do we show Him gratitude for that? With our bodies and our minds.
“Urging us” reminds us that we still have a choice in how we live for God.
“In view of God’s mercy” reminds us we do this because of the mercy God grants us (Romans 1-11). In fact, we are only able to offer ourselves to Him because of His mercy. Some of the mercies Paul has told us about already:
· Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin
· Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ
· Placed under grace, not law
· Giving the Holy Spirit to live within
· Promise of help in all affliction
· Assurance of a standing in God’s election
· Confidence of coming glory
· Confidence of no separation from the love of God
· Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness
Think of “body” here as your entire being for your heart, soul, spirit, and mind are in your body. Paul is saying here give God your entire self. God wants you!
Many today let their body rule in terms of engaging in physical pleasures. Paul says no! Our mind is the will and our mind brings the body as servant to God.
Ancient Greeks dismissed the body as unspiritual so this teaching would have shocked them. Paul says God is concerned about our bodies, which were dearly bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).
A living sacrifice is a dichotomy especially in the first century AD where sacrifices involved death. The whole idea is the sacrifice is ongoing. Paul could be contrasting dead animal sacrifices here as well or perhaps “living” in the sense of having the Holy Spirit.
“Holy and pleasing to God”: The standard for sacrifices made to God under the New Covenant are not any less than the standard under the Old Covenant.
Sacrifices in the Old Testament:
· He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10)
· But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 15:21)
The idea of a sweet aroma to the Lord is almost always linked to the idea of an offering made by fire. There is a “burning” in this matter of a living sacrifice. It also shows that Paul has in mind the burnt offering, in which the entire sacrifice was given to the Lord. In some sacrifices, the one offering the sacrifice and the priest shared in the some of the meal, but never in the burnt offering.
Today, the holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life. As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities.
“Spiritual act of worship”: This was translated as “reasonable service”. The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” (as it is in 1 Peter 2:2). Reasonable service is a life of worship according to God’s Word.
Another translation says “true and proper worship”. This is to emphasize not merely ritual worship activity but the involvement of heart, mind, and will in worship and obedient service.