Romans 12:1-2 Devotional

Begin by reading Romans 12:1-2

Before we parachute into chapter 12 of Romans, I thought it might be helpful for context to ask ourselves what the “therefore” is there for in verse 1, especially since Paul is appealing to the reader, on the grounds of mercy, to be living sacrifices. Some topics previously covered so far by Paul in Romans, were first the bad news of humanity's universal indictment of their hopeless state (1:18-3:20). But, from there, the good news of God the Son saving us by absorbing God’s wrath due our sin, and in our place (3:21-31). Paul then encourages those of us who have been baptized into Christ and freed by the Spirit to live unto God as His instruments for good (Chap 6). We are free! Free to live according to the Spirit who now dwells in us (Chap. 8)! Paul then comforts us by telling us that God sent His own Son for us all, so how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things (8:32)? Then Paul emboldens us by stating that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (8:38-39)! And finally, Paul humbles us by the doctrine of election that is not based on any intrinsic quality in us or anything yet to be done by us, but only due to God’s eternal foreloving purposes did He choose us (Chap. 9-11). “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy says our Lord'' (9:15). 

Paul, in chapter 12, then appeals to his readers, by those mercies, the mercy of salvation, the mercy of the indwelling Spirit, the mercy of our victorious Jesus, the mercy of our electing Father, to now give something back, to present to Him our life as a sacrifice, set apart, to Him, for Him, and Him alone.

Some misconceptions about God that these verses debunk are… 

1. God is some sort of health and wealth, transactional vending machine where we just pray a prayer or walk an aisle or behave ourselves in order to get some comfort and ease in life. 

Paul tells us, by the mercies of God already done, finished and complete to then offer our life to God. This is the reasonable response to God for what He has done for us. In view of God’s mercy, we are to sacrifice instead of seek.  

2. God is some on-call, emotional masseuse that exists only to make us happy and love our self more. 

Paul says, to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. This is an ongoing way of life, not a one-time event but continuous. A life sacrificed to God is in fact, spiritual worship, holy and acceptable to God. 

3. God is like some spiritual Santa that offers a stocking full of gifts and lets us just pick and choose whatever is most exciting or cool. 

Paul appeals to his readers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, words from God Himself to consider the mercy of God and to sacrificially give, not get, a life marked by giving all of who we are and have back to God. 

God knows the most worthy object of worship is Himself and we find our greatest purpose, value, and joy when we agree with Him. When we get that backwards and seek our own, we become lost within ourselves. Let us, therefore, not be conformed to this world but live transformed lives in this way. Let us not give in to the pressures of the world and make life about ourselves. Let us continue to value, esteem, and glorify God by giving and sacrificing our life in service to Him and in love for others. Through a new life, free to give to God, and a new mind, renewed by His Word, we will know the will of God; we will know and desire what pleases God and, what is good, acceptable, and perfect.