Study 8 PRESENTING OUR BODIES TO THE LORD
The Shining Pathway
by Francis Dixon
(Key verse: Romans 12: 1)
In this study we centre our thoughts upon the theme of giving our all to the Lord Jesus. We often sing about it, but perhaps we do not sufficiently mean what we sing. It is a most solemn thing to take these words on our lips:-
In full and glad surrender
I give myself to Thee,
Thine utterly and only
And evermore to be.
— and yet this is exactly what the Lord asks of us.
As Christians we have two alternatives: to hand our life to the One who has redeemed us by His blood (1 Peter 1:18-19), or to continue to run our own life. However, the life that is entirely dedicated to the Lord is the only life that is truly glorifying to God, useful to others, satisfying to ourselves and disturbing to the Devil (and every Christian should be a constant worry to the Enemy!). In Romans 12:1-2 the Lord, through His servant Paul, pleads with us to hand our lives over in entire dedication to Him. Study these words:-
1. The request that is made.
Every word in these verses is vital. Notice in verse 1 the great appeal that is made to every Christian:-
- 1. “I urge you …” Not, “I command you…” Moses would have said that, but we are “not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). This was one of Paul’s favourite methods of appeal - compare 1 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 2:8; 5:20; 6:1; 10:1; Galatians 4:12; Ephesians 4:1; Philemon 9 and 10.
- 2. ”you… brothers ” The appeal to surrender, to give, to dedicate is only ever made to Christians. Before the sinner can give, he must receive - see Psalm 116:12-13: “How can I repay the Lord?… I will lift up…” God appeals to “you”, to the ”brothers”, to offer all to Him.
- 3. “to offer…” It is a voluntary matter. There are no conscripts in Christ’s army! Of our own free-will, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are urged to dedicate ourselves to Him, but we are not forced to do so!
- 4. “your bodies…” There is nothing ambiguous here. Have you ever made a present of your body to God? This means to give all that we are and have and hope to be - the whole man - to Him. Study Romans 6:13 carefully.
- 5. ”as living sacrifices…” The sacrifices offered on Jewish altars were dead. We are to offer a living sacrifice, our whole life to Him who gave His life in death for us.
- 6. “holy…” The root meaning of this word is ”devoted to the use of” or ”set apart unto”. When we present ourselves completely to Him we become wholly devoted to His service, wholly set apart to Him and for Him.
- 7. “pleasing to God…” How wonderful that we can bring an offering to the Lord that is entirely well-pleasing and fully agreeable to Him! Will you present your body to Him? Why should you?
2. The reason that is given.
In verse 1 there are three compelling motives for giving our all to the Lord:-
- !. Because we are “brothers”. We have been brought into a new and wonderful relationship with our Father God, through the Lord Jesus, who is not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:11).
- 2. Because of ”God’s mercy”. The word “therefore” takes us back to all that has gone before in chapters 1-11 of this epistle. Because of ”God’s mercy”, we should feel constrained to present ourselves to Him. Consider the following great mercies:-
- Justification (3:21 - 5:21).
- Identification (chapter 6).
- Unification (7:1-6)
- Sanctification (7:7-25).
- Emancipation (8:1-17).
- Glorification (8:18-32).
- Preservation (8:33-39).
- 3. Because it is your ”spiritual act of worship”. In view of all that He has done for us, and the fact that we already belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), it is only right, reasonable and logical that we hand over to Him what is already His, and the greatest act of worship we can make is the dedication of our whole lives to the Lord.
What will follow such an act and attitude of dedication?
3. The result that is promised.
When we present our all to Him there will be a three-fold result.
This is clearly indicated in verse 2:-
- 1. Separation from the world. The world is all that shuts out Christ – look up 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Galatians 1:4. If we present ourselves to the Lord we shall not want the world and its follies, pleasures and sins. Also look up 1 John 2:15-17.
- 2. Transformation into His likeness. The word ”transformed” here is the same word as in Matthew 17:2; Luke 9:29. How can I be like Him? - Romans 12:1 is the answer! See also 2 Corinthians 3:18.
- 3. Rejoicing in the will of God. To “approve” means to find out for yourself in actual experience. If we will present ourselves utterly to Him, we shall soon discover that His will for us is good, pleasing and perfect. We shall not simply be resigned to His will, but we shall glory in it and will want nothing but His will.