Romans 12:1 says, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
The first thing to ask about verse 1 is this: "What is the 'therefore' there for?" "Therefore" always indicates cause and effect. The effect is described in the rest of Romans 12: serving others to the glory of God. We'll explore the rest of Romans 12 later in this devo series. But the cause is what was written before this sentence. Let's not miss why we should serve God to His glory.
Romans 12:1 is a significant moment of transition in Paul's treatise to the church at Rome about God's saving plan and their lives. For eleven chapters, Paul has been laying out a theology of salvation:
- Chapters one and two confirm God's righteousness and his justice. He will judge the wicked and reward the innocent.
- Chapters three and four then clarify that we are not the innocent. We are guilty sinners. However, there is a righteousness that comes from God and is available even to us, if we believe that Jesus died for our sins.
- Chapters five and six emphasize the powerful salvation of Christ: Jesus saves people who are his enemies; Christ's death overcomes the power of sin that has ruled since Adam; Believers in Jesus are changed in their very essence from slaves of sin to slaves of God and slaves of righteousness.
- Chapters seven and eight declare that we are free from the tyranny of the law. And not only that, we are filled with God's Spirit, who leads us into the righteous life that God intends. Even when we suffer or feel weak or fall short, we have assurance through the Spirit that Christ's sacrifice gaurantees us eternal life.
- Finally, chapters nine through eleven remind us to be humble. God chose us out of the goodness of his mercy, not because of something he saw in us.
Thoughts for Application
This thought should motivate us to serve over any other desire: "Jesus Christ died for me and I want to worship him." What other thoughts might vie for that first place motivator? How about...
- This is where I'm gifted
- I'm the only one who'll do it
- I enjoy it
- It sure beats (you fill in the blank) ministry
- I feel important and needed
- What part of your salvation amazes you the most?
- What is your primary motive for serving?
- How do you know?
- How could you be more God-centered when you serve?