Romans 12:1 - I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
In my last post, I posed the question, "are we serving (worshipping) God in the manner of reverence and admiration to which we should or are we merely pleasing him in the manner in which we are comfortable?" Today, I want to begin to look at what it means to serve God.
In the Old Testament, worship and service revolved around the sacrificial system. Offerings were made to God at various times for various reasons. However, Jesus brought an end to the sacrificial system by becoming the ultimate sacrifice and the great High Priest and ultimate mediator between God and man, making the system of the Old Testament obsolete. Therefore, in light of the fact that worship and service to God no longer revolved around the sacrificial system, how is the New Testament Church to serve God. I believe that the first part of the answer is found in Romans 12:1.
The first verse of Romans reflects back on the salvation God has bestowed upon both the Gentiles and Jews. In light of all that believers have received, and because of God's mercies, we are to offer back to God our bodies. The word bodies, in this context, refers to the whole person, therefore indicating that genuine commitment to God involves every aspect of a believer's life (Schreiner, 650). You cannot dedicate your spirit to God and not your body, nor can you dedicate your body to God and not your spirit. Our bodies, as sacrifices, that we are to offer to God are described as living, holy, and acceptable to God. By living, Paul is referring to a person's new spiritual state. However, this quality also contrasts with the Old Testament sacrifice in that now, the sacrifice consists of a quality of constant commitment (Dunn,710). Therefore, the quality of the sacrifice to which we offer God is one of constant dedication. We, as a sacrifice to God, are also to be holy, or set apart. This quality refers to the singular devotion to God, forsaking any other. The third attribute of our sacrifice is that we are to be pleasing to God. This quality represents the element of enjoyment that God receives through our sacrifice. He is well-pleased to have our constant and consistent commitment that is given to Him alone. It is this that God sees as our act of service to Him that is thought out and dedicated explicitly to Him (BDAG).
So what does that look like in 2011: To offer our entire lives to God in a way that we are consistently committed, constantly dedicated, and well-pleasing to God? How does that practically play out in our home life, in the workplace, and in our social life? How does that play out within the church?
The Challenge today is to think about how this applies within your own life. How do you show consistent devotion in each of your realms of influence so that God might be well-pleased with your worship?