I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
The inferential conjunction therefore is the Greek word “oun,” which introduces an inference from what has preceded. What preceded was Romans Chapter 8. Chapters 9-11 are a parenthesis explaining why the Dispensation of Israel had been halted and why the unconditional covenants had not yet been fulfilled and would not be fulfilled until the Second Coming of Christ. Chapter eight is for the advancing believer and chapter 12 is how to reach spiritual maturity. The life between salvation and spiritual maturity is in focus in the remaining chapters of Romans.
The principle of chapter 8 is very simple: the plan of God is greater than any condemnation, any sin, any failure, any personal suffering, any adversity, any historical disaster or any problem of life. Our life in Christ is infinitely greater than anything else that life has to offer. In other words, by the intake and application of accurate Bible doctrine on a consistent basis we have something that is greater than life itself. As believers, we can live above the circumstances of life. Through spiritual growth and our own volition, life never crushes us, destroys us or breaks us. We may bend but we never break. The parenthesis is now closed and chapter 12 tells us now to execute this supernatural life while adhering to God’s honor code.
Paul speaks with the authority of a commanding general. He is an apostle, hence he is in a sense the military commander of the early church. He encourages us before the battle. He exhorts us to advance to maturity. He seeks to persuade us how to function in that advance. The word brethren tells us that this a family matter. The royal family of God has a family honor code.
The Greek word “oiktrimos” for mercies is a non-emotional word which means compassion, sympathy and mercy, but on a rational basis without one shred of emotion involved. It means a rational approach instead of an emotional approach (emotion has its place, but not here). The justice of God is the source of these mercies, which are our divine blessings. These blessings are used in Paul’s appeal as motivation for advancing to the point of capacity for blessing. Paul is urging the royal family to advance to spiritual maturity. When blessing from God is used as motivation it is a legitimate motivation. This is because blessing from God is a way that we can glorify God in the Angelic Conflict.
First priority as a believer is to present your body as a living and holy sacrifice. The Greek word for present is “paristemi,” which has a military meaning. Originally it meant to place beside, to put one’s self under orders to, to place one’s self at God’s disposal.
The body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is also the residence of the sin nature. These two are in residence, mutually antagonistic. (Galatians 5:16) When the sin nature controls through sin, human good, or evil the only solution becomes the Rebound Technique because if the sin nature controls the body where it resides it overflows into the soul. If the Holy Spirit controls, then this overflows into the soul. The residence is simply a place to control the soul. It is an attack upon the soul by the sin nature; it is the filling of the Spirit when the Spirit controls the soul. The soul is the issue, what you think is the issue, and the whole process of the function of the soul. When it says here that you place your body under orders it is referring to Rebound and the filling of the Spirit, the two basic techniques of the Christian life.
The Greek word for sacrifice is “thusia” meaning an act of offering. A believer is to offer his body to God as stated above. The believer’s body is to be a living and holy sacrifice. The Greek word for living is “zao,” which means life. The Greek word for holy is “hagios” meaning to be set apart. Taken together in this verse they mean to offer God a set-apart life. In other words, your offering to God is the execution of the Christian Way of Life under the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word for acceptable is “euarestos,” which means well-pleasing. The Greek word for reasonable is “logikos,” which means rational. Anything that is not rational is not the worship of God (this includes emotionalism, speaking in so-called tongues, etc.). The Greek word for worship is “latreia,” which means to serve someone. Spiritual is obviously a reference to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
All worship must be rational, and this is possible only by relating it to Bible doctrine. All worship must be spiritual, therefore related to the filling of the Spirit. (John 4:24) Basically, worship includes certain functions: singing, praying, giving, the intake of doctrine, plus the communion service. Each facet of worship demands two things: the filling of the Holy Spirit and the residence of Bible doctrine in the soul. Therefore, singing must be related to doctrine and executed in the filling of the Spirit. Prayer must conform to doctrine and be executed in the filling of the Spirit. Giving must be motivated from doctrine resident in the soul and fulfilled in the filling of the Spirit. Perception of doctrine, the most important and basic facet of worship, demands the filling of the Spirit for understanding. The communion service is a ritual which has no meaning apart from doctrine resident in the soul. Hence, a worship function is impossible apart from the filling of the Spirit.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
The Greek word for conformed is “suschematizo,” which means to be molded after something, to be fashioned like something or to be guided by something. It is your thinking being molded under the influence of Satan’s world system. This is actually a command to stay out of the place where thinking human viewpoint separates us from Bible doctrine and causes us to resist it or be distracted from it. Bible doctrine resident in the soul is not only the means of spiritual advance, but it gets your thinking straight. It lines it up with the plan of God so you have the potential of being guided by God.
The Greek verb for transformed is “metamorphoo,” which means to undergo a spiritual transformation in thought, to change your thinking from human viewpoint to divine viewpoint. Being transformed denotes what habitually occurs when the believer is constantly positive toward Bible doctrine and transfers that doctrine from the page of the Word of God into the soul and the human spirit.
The Greek word for renewing is “anakainosis,” which means renovation. The thought pattern is renovated or renewed through utilization of maximum doctrine resident in the soul. The whole purpose of staying alive on this earth is to learn Bible doctrine, which glorifies God. The daily function of studying, learning and applying accurate Bible doctrine is not only the means of advancing to spiritual maturity but it is the only way of actually learning the will of God, understanding the plan of God and staying away from the influence of Satan’s cosmic system. So as accurate Bible doctrine replaces human viewpoint, a new mental attitude is formed in the mind. We call that mental attitude Divine Viewpoint Thinking.
The Greek word for prove is “dokimazo,” which means to test for the purpose of approval. This verse is really about the will of God. Good is the Greek word agathos for intrinsic (lasting) good. The will of God is always intrinsic good. Whatever is the will of God is in contrast to human good. It is perfect good. The Greek word for acceptable is “euarestos,” which means well-pleasing. The will of God is always pleasing to God. The Greek word for perfect is “teleios,” which means having attained the end or purpose, hence complete. It refers to having attained the object, which is spiritual maturity. The will of God for the believer is maturity adjustment to the justice of God through the study and application of Bible doctrine.
The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking the thoughts of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:5, says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mind of Christ is the doctrine found in the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth. In order to have the proper thinking, the believer must be consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.
God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it. God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit. Both are grace functions for every believer in this age, regardless of education or I.Q. Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it accurately.
At salvation all believers are placed into union with Jesus Christ and become complete in Him (positionally). (Colossians 2:10) However, experientially we are not complete because we still have a sin nature. For this reason all believers are commanded to grow spiritually and to advance toward spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity and a stabilized mind should be the goal of every person who has trusted Christ as Savior. (Ephesians 4:14-15; II Peter 3:18)
Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight. It takes a lifetime of persistent and consistent study to learn Bible doctrine. God’s Word likens spiritual growth to building a house. Often expressed as edification, the concept in Greek is to build or to build up. For the Christian, this occurs in his soul as he exposes himself to accurate Bible teaching and applies the truth that he learns. As with any building, we must be careful to first lay the right foundation before we build on it. The Scripture is clear that the only foundation for the believer is Jesus Christ Himself. We know that the Word of God is the mind of Christ. Therefore, the foundation is the written Word (Christ is the living Word). The written Word of God is meant to be understood and utilized as a blueprint for building your spiritual building, which is the Christian Way of Life.