“I beseech (invite) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1-2).
The fact that the Apostle Paul invites rather than commands the consecration of our bodies to God does not lessen the seriousness of the calling. It rather exponentially heightens it because the Holy Spirit’s dynamic presence in born again believers equips us “to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
It would be one thing for Paul to beckon unbelievers to such “living sacrifice.” No heart exists in them for such dedication to God. It is quite another that the Apostle invites believers to present our bodies because desire to the degree of delight for God’s will dwells within our innermost spiritual being. The Spirit of Christ’s presence within us ensures such inclination, provided as a gift of grace no less than our justification and ultimate glorification. Thus, Paul writes to those equipped through Christ to respond, and thus, much is required to those so blessed.
The challenge of this calling involves a significant step of faith. We often do not feel delight for the will of God, nor do our thoughts and physical sensations always coincide with faithful obedience. “The flesh lusteth against the spirit” (Galatians 5:17). Furthermore, our past experience has not always coincided with delight for obedience to God. Therefore, we must believe the New Testament’s frequent affirmation and explanation of the “new man, created in righteousness and true holiness” that comprises our redeemed selves in Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Responding in faith to such truth establishes our subsequent walk as we more and more discover that delight for the will of God really does infuse our Christ-inhabited spirits. “For we which have believed do enter into rest” (Hebrews 4:3).
This is “reasonable service” because that which God commands, He first provides. He works in us to will. This we must believe. Then He works in us to do. This we also must believe. The choice involves faith, as we might expect since “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). May we heed the invitation to such trust, and then to the joyful presentation of our bodies to the Lord who purchased them at the cost of His own. Peace will result, the peace of walking according to God’s delight, and in the miracle of His redeeming grace, to our delight.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
(I Corinthians 6:9-11)