“Therefore I urge you, 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.” Romans 12:1 NASB
One of the difficulties we often have is understanding how totally depraved we are apart from Christ. We often think that we are deserving of the gifts and the blessings of God. However, the Word of God says in Isaiah 64:6 “Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our righteousness is the best we can give and it alone is not enough. The bible also says in Ephesians 2:3 “by nature we are children of wrath.” The word of God gives a very bleak picture of the nature of man. Every man, woman, and child that has ever lived upon this earth has made a conscience choice at some point in their lives to rebel and sin against God. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”
The bible also tells us that God requires death as the payment of our sins. (Romans 6:23). Death had to be paid as a penalty of sin, but praise be to God that I Corinthians 15:3 tells us, “Christ died for our sins.” We should have paid the penalty of our sins but Jesus stood in our place. Although we have turned our back on Him time after time, God loved us enough to send His Son to become sin for us. II Corinthians 5:21 say, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Due to this great sacrifice John said in I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one is worthy of this great gift of sacrifice. We deserve death and hell, yet God gives us grace by giving us His Son.
With this grace in mind Paul said in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, 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.” He is urging us because of the mercy of God to give ourselves entirely to Himself as a living and holy sacrifice. God doesn’t want dead sacrifices. He desires living sacrifices that are set apart for His own purposes. If we truly understand the mercies of God and the great grace that God has bestowed upon us we would have no problem serving Him. The mercies of God have purchased us from sin, death, and hell, and reconciled us into a right relationship with Him. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Ephesians 2:4
Because of the mercies of God I will gladly surrender myself to Him in full submission. Because of the mercies of God I will gladly serve Him with full sincerity counting it an honor. Because of the mercies of God I will gladly give my life as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.