We are introduced here to the practical part of the epistle to the Romans based on the revelation given from the previous chapter 1 to 11.This pattern is typical of Paul’s epistles: doctrine first- what man is to believe about God and then duty- what God requires to those who believe. Doctrine was basic but Paul expected belief to reproduce in goodness.
The word “therefore” in 12:1 refers to the magnificent summing up of Christian standing and eternal blessing (read chapter 8) and because of all these truth, Paul wrote:
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
First it is dedication– it is making a sacrifice. This is holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual (or reasonable [KJV] or true and proper [NIV]) worship. It will be unreasonable or improper to do anything less.
Second “do not be conformed to this world…” Do not adapt yourself to the pattern of this world. Do not follow after the world. We should let the Lord Jesus conform us to His image. This is internal, but it
expresses itself externally. “We should transform by the renewal of our minds: Instead of allowing the world, we should allow Lord Jesus to mould our thoughts.
Instead of being motivated the way the world is motivated let yourself be motivated by the will of God so that you begin to see things with Lord Jesus’ eyes, from Lord Jesus’ point of view. You actually see life the way the Lord Jesus sees life. This will result if you refuse to allow the world to conform you to its mould.
How can we be transformed by the renewing of minds so that we can know the will of God? Through the Word of God and through prayers
The Word of God – (Read Psalms 119:9-11) – Storing up of the Word in the heart is more than just memorising scripture verses. In the heart means a willingness to submit to the Word and having an active relationship not a passive knowledge with no application.
Prayer – together with the Word is given to us to relate with God. Some people says that since God knows everything and God cannot change, why should we pray. They have the wrong idea that prayer is only consist of request and asking God to do something which we want or think should be done. No! Prayer is not given so that we can change God but it is given so that it can change us so that we can be more and more conform to His will.
Next from verses 3 to 8 is on discipleship and it is important to note that he began with self evaluation- “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Do not think too highly of yourself than you ought to think, that is conceit; but do not think too little of yourself, that is also conceit or inverted pride. Christians do not need to feel useless because God had given each one a measure of faith.
As Christians, we are to be able to live and work in a community. Paul gives a beautiful diversity in the body of Christ. Offering ourselves as a “living sacrifice” (singular in the Greek), transforming ourselves, developing the mind of Christ — all these take place in community – in the context of a local church.
The following verses of the chapter are exhortations that are quite explicit and clear. The difficulty with these practical portions in the Word of God is not that they are hard to understand, but they are so obviously plain. For sure you do not have to do that which you cannot understand. One of the keys to understanding the profound things of the Word is to obey the plain things.
Deacon Wayne Teo