December 4, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Here again is Romans 12:1-3 – from which we will glean how we are to be Overcoming The Head Start of the world in our lives as it tries to conform you, or “… squeeze you into its own mold…” (Romans 12:2 – The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips).
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you pre-
sent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be trans-
formed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say through the grace
given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more
highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to
everyone a measure of faith.
As I stated in the last blog, the Head Start of the world is the influence of life that godless society presses in on you – the only influence or input your sinful nature is ready to receive before you come to Jesus Christ in faith, accepting Him as your personal Savior!
You might be thinking, “Hey, the world isn’t all that bad!” And it is true. We can find a lot of good in this old world. But society has a thin veneer of respectability and proper behavior covering over a very basic problem of all humanity – the sin nature! As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:21 (Bible in Basic English): we “…were cut off and at war with God in…our minds through evil works….” When we invite Jesus into our hearts and lives, we are reconciled back to God through His sacrifice for our sins on the cross!
But that spiritual birth (see John 3:3-5; I Peter 1:23) happens some years – sometimes many, many years – after we are physically born into this world. So the world has a big Head Start – and we have to Overcome it! How?
• Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren….” In Bible college I learned when I read the word therefore, I should always ask, “What is that therefore there for?” That therefore is there for a very good reason! Paul is referring back to the previous eleven chapters he had already written, and the truths contained therein – truths such as:
▸ We are all sinners! (See Romans 3:10, 23).
▸ We get paid for our sins! (See Romans 6:23 – first part).
▸ God loves us anyway – enough to send His Son as the sacrifice for our sins! (See Romans 5:8).
▸ Eternal life in Jesus is God’s gift to us! (See Romans 6:23 – second part).
▸ We receive that gift – Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life in Him – by faith! (See Romans 10:9-13).
I have just outlined for you what is called The Roman Road – a great tool to use for leading someone to faith in Christ.
Remembering therefore what Paul has written about the greatest gift God could have ever given (see John 3:16), it is just reasonable that “…you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1). How do “…you present your bodies a living sacrifice…”? The only way I know is to say, “Here, Lord, here I am. It is not what I want anymore. It is what you want.” We are to say it and to mean it, and to repeat it in every situation! This is very much akin to the prayer which Jesus prayed in the Garden before He went to the cross: “…nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 – See The Most Important Prayer A Christian Can Pray, blog for April 29, 2013). If this seems like a hard thing to do, then consider Philippians 2:13: “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” He works within us to give us not only the power to do what He wants, but also the will – the want to – to do it! (See the blog from March 13, 2013 – A Little Help Here, Please!).
This is just the first of several points Romans 12:1 through 3 gives to help us in Overcoming The Head Start of the world! We will continue our study with Monday’s blog.