“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Worship is more than attending a church to praise and thank God. Of course, attending a Christ-honoring and Bible teaching church to praise and worship God is vital. God instructed us to do so in the Bible. However, worship is more than open worship in a building where the church gathers.
In Isaiah 1:13-14, the LORD said to the worshippers who brought sacrifices to Him these words, “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths, and convocations- I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and appointed festivals I hate with all my being.” You come to worship and sacrifice, but your hands are full of blood. Wash and clean, take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. He also said, Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD.“ Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” True and proper worship comes from a transformed person with a renewed mind.
Our today’s insight says what motivates you to worship, what is the manner of worship, and what is true and proper worship.
Your motivation to worship the Lord is His mercies and kindness toward you. When you remember God’s grace and mercies, you are motivated to worship the Lord. God’s mercies are all the things He gave to you that you do not deserve. God’s love, salvation, his favor, eternal life, hope, justified by Christ’s blood, receipt of God’s righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace with God, peace of God, loving-kindness, goodness, spiritual and physical blessings, Holy Spirit, Christ’s intercession on your behalf, protection, deliverance, health, well beings and the list goes on. Especially in the context of the book of Romans, God’s mercy is His salvation that Christ died for you while you were still a sinner and paid in full all your debts that were owed to God. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Apostle Paul says ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy. Because of the varied and manifold mercies, you received from the Lord is the motivation to worship Him.
Secondly, what is the manner of worship? In view of manifold mercies of God, you offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. There is a connection between this verse and chapter 6:13 and 19. 6:13 says, “ Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have a new life.” So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” In view of the mercies of God, give yourself completely to God. Although it says to offer your bodies, the meaning is to offer the whole of you- body, mind, soul, heart, hands, legs, face, and all to God.
When you offer your bodies it does not mean you sacrifice your body like the animal sacrifices on the altar in the old testament. Hence the usage of a ‘living sacrifice. You live and offer your bodies. Not by taking away your life. Your body and life belong to God. He has a definite purpose and plan for it. You must continue living even if life gets tough and show forth your life as an offering to God. God will help and empower to do it.
Secondly ‘holy’. Holy means set apart for God. You as a believer saved by God are different from other human beings of this world. You are set apart for God’s purposes and God’s kingdom. You are otherly, and you do not belong to the present world system, and its standards and thought process. Colossians 3:1-4 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” You progressively become more like Christ. Certain things you liked and enjoyed in the past, you would start hating as you set apart for him in holiness.
Thirdly, pleasing to God. You should not try to please the men around you. You are called to please God. You can not please men and God at the same time. (Galatians 1:10). Many believers try to please others. The question is, are you trying to get the approval of men or of God? Pleasing God means you have the mind of Christ. Christ is full of grace, love, compassion, kindness, goodness, humility, patience, and long-suffering. Christ loved all with no bias of their backgrounds. He did not discriminate, and Christ reached out to sinners with love and compassion. Do not be life Pharisees who hated the forgiveness and grace of the Lord. Do not be like the elder brother of the prodigal son who did not like the coming back of his lost brother. He would not even enter his father’s house because of his hypocritical opinion about his own brother- your worthless son who spent your money on prostitutes. However, the father loved his coming back because his eyes were always on the horizon every day waiting for his son’s return. Be like Father and Jesus Christ. Forsake Pharisee mentality. God hates the pharisaic attitude. He would not please such worship. Only if you got an understanding of the fullness of grace in Christ and Father, you would be able to behave like Jesus Christ. Your whole life must be based on the basis of mercies and graces you received, and may these free outflow from you as it did from Jesus Christ. This is how you would please God.
Beloved, worship is more than just attending Sunday or mid-week services, though they are essential. Worship is the dedication of your whole being in the presence of the Lord every day of your life in view of mercies you received from Him. Do you want to do true and proper worship? Offer your whole being as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
“Father in heaven, I dedicate my whole being as living, holy and acceptable sacrifice to you for your purposes and plans. Use me fully and totally for your name. May the grace and mercy you heaped upon me freely flow out of me. May I never try to please men around me? May my goal is to please you through my life filled with grace, mercy forgiveness. I pray in the name of Christ, Amen.”