Gods will is knowing what God wants us to be (our character and nature) and do (His desire and purpose for our lives). While it is generally considered difficult and impossible, Romans 12:1 & 2 shows us a way to discover Gods will. These verses are a culmination or climax indicating what the Roman Christians ought to do because of what God has done for us through Christ Jesus, described in the previous chapters of this letter.
“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. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12: 1&2)
“Therefore, in view of God’s mercy” ~ MOTIVATION
Paul has beautifully portrayed the various aspects of Gods mercy such as His love, grace, justification, righteousness, peace, Holy Spirit, redemption, forgiveness, eternal life, adoption and reigning in life in chapters 1 to 11. Once we understand the mercies of God, we are melted, moved and doing Gods will becomes a natural flow.
We should note that all the words used in Romans 12: 1 and 2 are elaborately described earlier in the letter, thereby connecting the readers to what they should be doing now based on what God has done.
Therefore "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires." Romans 6:12
Mercy "Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all." Romans 11: 30 – 32
Offer "13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. " Romans 6: 13,16,19
Bodies "Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; " Romans 6: 12, 13
"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13
Sacrifice "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished" Romans 3:25
"For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh," Romans 8:3
Conform "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." Romans 8:29
Mind "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so." Romans 8: 5-7
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices... Renewing of mind ~ METHOD
We should willingly and cheerfully offer our bodies as living sacrifices, which is a spiritual act of worship and not a ritualistic act of worship.
Someone said “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it tends to crawl away from the altar!”. Living sacrifice is a daily act of worship and we need to deny ourselves, put to death the misdeeds of our body on a day to day basis. Romans 6: 13-19 indicates the offering of every part of our body to God.
In Mathew 5: 29-30 Jesus said: If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Our bodies are outward expressions of behavior and its misdeeds should be put to death by the Spirit. (Rom: 8:13)
The consequences of an uncontrolled mind is also devastating. We become futile (Romans 1:21) and depraved not knowing what ought to be done and filling ourselves with all kinds of wickedness (Romans 1:28 – 31).
"They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised." Romans 1:25
Our minds should be controlled by the spirit everyday (Rom:8:6) so that we are not deceived by the philosophies and patterns of the world which looks like the truth.
Able to test and approve God’s will ~ Manifestation
The offering of our bodies and mind helps us to know and be in the center of Gods will. We can understand His revealed will through the scriptures, which is the key to offering our bodies as living sacrifices and renewal of mind.
How do you keep yourself reminded of God’s mercies?
What parts of your body cause you to sin which needs to be offered to God as a living sacrifice?
How will you keep renewing your mind?