Article written by Pastor Tan Kok Beng

14 May, 2023


(Christian Living 24)

In Romans 12:1-2, the Bible instructs us to live a surrendered and dedicated life to God: “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 be conformed 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” (NIV). It is in surrendering a life dedicated to God that we can truly ensure a “true and proper worship”. Another version says, “which is your spiritual worship”. The second reason given is that we can know and be sure of God’s perfect will in our life.

Notice that the instruction begins with the words, “therefore” and “in view of God’s mercy”. The word “therefore” refers to the previous passage, from Chapters 1 to 11, which is about God’s Love in His Plan of Salvation for unworthy sinners like us in sending the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. God’s Love is seen in His Grace and Mercy in forgiving sinners and making them His children through His indwelling Holy Spirit. So, in appreciation of His gracious mercy, we are to present our “bodies as a living sacrifice”.

In OT times, the animal sacrifice offered to God was killed and burned at the altar as a temporary covering for the sinner. But now, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, has replaced that by the sacrifice of Himself as “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In Christ we who were “dead in trespasses and sin” have been made alive by the Risen Christ, “the Resurrection and the Life”. God now wants us to be His “living sacrifice” – to live for Him as a testimony of His Grace in our life. We are to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” so that we may glorify Him.

To continually live a surrendered and dedicated life, we need to have a changed and new mindset. We are to do this by not being “conformed to the pattern of this word, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind”. The J.B.Philips translation says, ‘Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould’. Somehow, we have been influenced from childhood to live like people in the world who do not know God. The world seems to have moulded our moral and spiritual values; also our methods of doing things in life, in education, in career, etc. That is because ‘the whole world is under the control of the evil one’ (1 John 5:19).

But now in Christ, because we are His new creation (2 Cor.5:16-17) we are not to have this worldly view point but to be ‘transformed by the renewing of our mind’. Christ has given us the power of His Holy Spirit to live differently as His witnesses (Acts 1:8). We need always to be conscious of what God has done for us and that we are His redeemed children. We are in the world but not of the world. We are no more in the kingdom of this world but we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. So let us live worthily of our new calling. 

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