“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 saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ spiritually births a person who did not previously exist, a person invited rather than commanded to “present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
“In Christ” comprises the primary feature of this new person, that is, God unites our innermost being with the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (I Corinthians 6:17). We become His temple wherein God does not merely sit on a throne. He rather works in us to effect ongoing change and the inclination for faithful obedience that characterizes Christ Himself. “I will dwell in them and walk in them” (II Corinthians 6:16).
Believing this Biblical truth presents one of the great challenges faced by every believer. The contrary lusts of the flesh are much with us, even as the Apostle Paul confessed, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind” (Romans 7:23). Conversely, we don’t always “see” the Holy Spirit’s working in us to will and to do of God’s good pleasure. Our flesh screams and whispers to us of its desires. Our spirit tends to be far quieter as the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit promises to infuse in us the delight of Christ for obedience to our Heavenly Father. Will we believe, amid the fleshly din, that regardless of all evidence to the contrary, our truest desire is to fulfill the glory and will of God?
Rightly answering this question provides a key component in the establishment of a growing faithfulness to God. It is He who declares in His Word that a transforming work of grace exists in the part of us that is the very heart of us. Whether we increasingly experience the truth of delight for obedience therefore hinges on the same faith that began our relationship with God. Will we believe in the Lord Jesus? This time, the issue involves not forgiveness and the assurance of going to Heaven some day, but rather the living of life in this day. A living, dynamic Savior dwells and walks in us. As a free gift of grace, His delight for obedience is our delight for obedience. This we must believe, and as we do, we shall discover yet again the wonders of a salvation and a Savior who provides for us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3).
Unto such blessed ones, invitation rather than command is the most appropriate beckoning. God calls us to the “reasonable service” of fulfilling the truest delight of our Christ-inhabited hearts. What could be more “reasonable” that this? We are chocolate lovers, as it were, invited to a chocolate tasting! Again, this we must believe. As we do, we shall discover in practical experience the truth of our redeemed selves in Christ.
Tomorrow: an example of the outworking of such faith in everyday life.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”