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Darlene

Romans 12:1

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Heavenly Father,

 

I'm looking forward to studying Chapter 12 because in my own personal bible, I have many things highlighted and underlined in it. I don't hear alot of people talk about Chapter 12 specifically, but for many reasons, there is much written in there that has personal meaning or importance.

 

I want to take a moment and ask Your hand of blessing over the next week or two as various family members come in for Easter. I don't know how many studies I'll be able to get done during that time, but I know my heart will be resting with You because this visit is a very important one to me. I've been up here almost 3 years now, and outside of my children, none of my family has been able to come up and visit, and see where You led me. So, my dad is coming (mom is ill and won't be able to come this time, but continue Your healing in her body Father), and one of my brothers is coming up. I am not sure I can put it into words, but I want them to see and maybe understand, some of the things You've taught me here, that You could have only taught me here. I'm looking forward to one on one time with my brother and my dad, in my new normal, in my element where my life has changed so drastically from all I've known, and to share with them the things that You, our Heavenly Father, have shown me, taught me, changed me. A part of me ripped when I moved away...it was not easy at all, but You've been faithful and have blessed me far beyond any expectations I could have had.

 

Anyway, fill their hearts overflowing Father with Your blessings and peace because I love them, and You love them more.

 

Bless today's study Father, open my eyes that I might learn on a deeper level and grow closer to You in the process.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

1. I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

 

Watchman Nee comments on several words in this first verse and writes:

 

"I": " After the parenthetical word that explains in detail God's selection, this book, continuing ch. 8, speaks concerning the latter half of God's complete salvation in Christ. In this latter half, those who enjoy the first half of God's complete salvation are members one of another as the Body of Christ (v. 5). Furthermore, they have the living of the Body of Christ on the earth to express Christ in different localities (such as those enumerated in ch. 16) that the Triune God may be expressed in such a living, as taught in the five chapters of the holy Word in this section, which concern the various aspects of this living. The first half of God's complete salvation, revealed in chs. 1--8, is the procedure by which God achieves His purpose; the second half of God's complete salvation, revealed in chs. 12--16, is the purpose of God's complete salvation."

 

"beseech": "Or, beg."

 

"mercies/compassions": " See note 152 in ch. 9. In Greek the mercies/compassions referred to here are plural. God has had many kinds of mercies/compassion on us, as shown in His selecting us, calling us, saving us, and bringing us into His life that we may enjoy His riches and become His expression. Through these many mercies/compassions as the means and the motivating power, the apostle exhorted us to present our bodies to God for the fulfillment of His purpose."

 

"present": " For the church life, the life of the Body of Christ, to be realized, our entire being is needed. Thus, this chapter speaks concerning our body (v. 1), our soul (v. 2), and our spirit (v. 11). Our body must be presented to God for the Body of Christ."

 

"living sacrifice": "In ch. 6 the members of our body are to be presented as weapons of righteousness (6:13) for warfare and service. In this chapter, however, our bodies are to be presented as a living sacrifice for the church life. This sacrifice is living because it has life through resurrection; it is not like the sacrifices in the Old Testament, which were all slain. This sacrifice is also holy because, positionally, it has been separated unto God by the blood of Christ from the world and from all persons, matters, and things that are common; and because, dispositionally, the natural life and the old creation have been sanctified and transformed by the Holy Spirit with God's life and God's holy nature for God's satisfaction. Thus, this sacrifice is well pleasing to God.

 

In Greek, bodies here is plural and sacrifice is singular. This indicates that, although many bodies are presented, they become one sacrifice, implying that, although we are many, our service in the Body of Christ should not be many individual services, separated and unrelated. All our service should constitute one whole service, and this service must be unique because it is the service of the one Body of Christ."

 

"service": "Service in worship of God. Before this chapter such a service is not mentioned with reference to believers other than the apostle. This indicates that the service of the believers is an issue of the growth in life described in the foregoing chapters. It indicates further that this service must be in the Body, the church. This corresponds with the types in Exodus and Leviticus, which show that the service of the priesthood rendered to God was not established until after the tent of meeting was built."

 

The rvbv writes, "I BESEECH YOU - What an astonishing word to come from God! From a God against whom we had sinned, and under whose judgment we were! What a word to us, believers, - a race of sinners so lately at enmity with God, - "I beseech you!" Paul had authority from Christ to command us, - as he said to Philemon: "Though I have all boldness in Christ to enjoin thee that which is befitting, yet for love's sake I rather beseech." Let us give heart-heed to this our apostle, who often covered with his tears the pages whereon he wrote. As he said of his ministry, "We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech - !"

 

And what does he cite to move us to hearken to the great appeal for our devotion to God which opens this section of Romans - this part that calls for our response to the great unfoldings of God's salvation in the previous chapters? I BESEECH YOU BY THE MERCIES OF GOD!

 

Let us call to mind these MERCIES of which Paul speaks:

 

1. JUSTIFICATION, - including pardon, removal of sins from us, trespasses never to be reckoned, a standing in Christ, - being made the righteousness of God in Him!

 

2. IDENTIFICATION - taken out of Adam by death with Christ, - dead to sin and to law, and now IN CHRIST!

 

3. UNDER GRACE, NOT LAW - Fruit unto God, - unto sanctification, made possible.

 

4. THE SPIRIT INDWELLING - "No condemnation," freedom from law of sin; witness of Sonship and Heirship.

 

5. HELP IN INFIRMITY, and in any present sufferings, on our way to share Christ's glory.

 

6. DIVINE ELECTION: Our final Conformity to Christ's Image as His brethren; God's settled Purpose, - in which, believers already glorified in God's sight!

 

7. COMING GLORY - beyond any comparison with present sufferings!

 

8. NO SEPARATION POSSIBLE - God loved us in Christ.

 

9. CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S FAITHFULNESS confirmed by His revealed plans for national Israel.

 

Present your bodies - This has been used to divide believers harshly into two classes, - those who have "presented their bodies" to God, and those who have not. But this is not the spirit of the passage. For God "beseeches" us to be persuaded by His mercies. He does not condemn us for past neglect, nor drive us in the matter of yielding to Him. We must believe that these Divine mercies have persuasive powers over our wills. It is not that we can move our own wills; but that faith in God's mercies, personally shown us, has power. It is "the goodness of God" that moves us, - when we really believe ourselves the free recipients of it!

 

So Paul beseeches us to present our bodies to God. We might have expected, Yield your spirits, to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. But Paul says, bodies. Now if a man should present his body for the service of another, willingly, it would carry all the man with it. (A man desiring to enlist in the British army comes, after the physical examination, to present himself to the enlisting officer. He is still his own man. Then the enlisting officer gives him "the king's shilling" - as enlistment money. He signs an attestation as to his age, place of birth, trade, etc., and takes the oath of allegiance: "To be true and faithful to the king and his heirs, and truth and faith to bear of life and limb and terrene honour, and not to know or hear of any ill or damage intended him without defending him therefrom." Having accepted the king's money, and taken this oath, he is now legally the king's own soldier.) In the case of a slave, his master owns his body; so he does what his master says: often with inner reluctance. We are besought to present our bodies, - that is, willingly to do so. God, who made and owns us, and Christ, whose we are (see chapter 1:6, - "called as Jesus Christ's") - God, I say, might have said, Come, serve Me: it is your duty. That would have been law. But instead, grace is reigning, over us, and in us; and Paul says to us, I beseech you, present your bodies. And there and then, in a believing view of God's mercies, we find our hearts going forth. For there is great drawing power in the knowledge that someone has loved us, and given us such Divine bounties as these mercies!

 

A living sacrifice - This is in contrast with those slain offerings Israel brought to God. God's service is freedom, not slavery; life, not death. Holy, acceptable unto God - we remember that God said of Israel's offerings: "Whatsoever toucheth the alter shall be holy" (Ex. 29:37). It is very blessed to know that any believer's yielding his body to God is called a "holy, acceptable sacrifice," - well-pleasing unto God Himself! That any creature should be able to offer what could "please" the infinite Creator, is wonderful; but that such wretched, fallen ones as the sons of men should do so, is a marvel of which only the gracious God Himself knows the depth!

 

Which is your spiritual service - Here "spiritual" or "intelligent" religious service (logike latreia) is contrasted with that outward religious service Israel had in former days. They had the temple, with its prescribed rites, its "days, and months, and seasons and years," its ordinances and ceremonial observances. Indeed, it was right that they should carry out these ordinances as God directed. But, while it was "religious service" (which is what latreia means), it was not intelligent service. It was not logike latreia; but consisted of "shadows of the good things to come" (Heb. 10:1-14). There was a ceaseless round of "services"; but God dwelt in the darkness of the Holy of Holies; and sin was not yet put away. But now Christ has come, propitiation has been made; Christ has been raised; the Holy Spirit has come; and "intelligent service" is now possible. And giving over our bodies to God is the path into it. (It is sad and terrible to see how professing Christianity has departed from all this blessed "intelligent service" in the Holy Spirit, back into the darkness of man-prescribed religion! Imagine Peter setting up holy days, in the Book of Acts: as, "Ash Wednesday"; "Good Friday"; "Lent"; "Easter"! It would all have been denial of their new connection with a Risen Christ, and of the Presence of the Comforter! It would have been turning back to Judaism, yea, to Paganism, for the name "easter" is simply "Ishtar," the great goddess of Babylon!

 

We will either yield ourselves to God, and be led by the Holy Spirit into the "intelligent service" that belongs to this dispensation and to the true Christians; or we will be hiding away from God in the false "Christian" forms and ceremonies "Christendom," with its religion, has taken on.

 

God abhors "ceremonies," - since the blessed Holy Ghost has come, and has brought liberty!)."

 

 

Heavenly Father,

 

It never ceases to amaze me when I discover at times, that my perception/understanding, is skewed a little to the right or a little to the left...but when I read Your Word, it is brought back into the center.

 

These skewed perceptions/understandings have the potential to erode my foundations, so I'm so grateful for Your Word, and this study, and the times when You lead me to various areas of the Bible, to straighten those areas that are in need.

 

Bless the work that lies ahead of me today Father...let me wrap up the various things I need to get done before the family arrives, because there is still much left to do.

 

Most of all, I love You and need You and am so grateful I took the time to spend this past hour or two, with You.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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