Romans 12:1-2

Sunday Evening Bible Study

March 22, 1998


Times like tonight are times to stop and think about what life is all about.

:1 that ye present your bodies

The Burnt Offering

One of the many types of sacrifices in the Old Testament was that of the burnt offering. As you would present your animal for a burnt offering, you would lay your hand on the animal, and it would in a sense be taking your place.

As the animal was killed, cut into pieces, and laid out on the altar, it was as if you were being laid out on the altar. As the animal was to be totally consumed in the flames, you were to be totally consumed in the flames, being given completely over to God.


"God does not always choose great people to accomplish what he wishes, but He chooses a person who is wholly yielded to Him."

-- Henrietta Mears (Bible teacher at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, who remained single all her life, and who taught and encouraged many of today's great Christian leaders including Billy Graham and Bill Bright).

:1 a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God

There are actually three words used to describe this sacrifice we are to give to God.


The point of having a living sacrifice is that it still can serve a purpose alive, here on planet earth.

There actually is a precedence for such a thing, the "wave offering".

In setting up the organization of the tabernacle worship, God decided that Aaron and his family would need some help to keep up with all the work of the sacrifices. So God decided to take the entire tribe of Levi and set them aside to be the helpers to the priests. God told Aaron to present the Levites to Him as a "wave offering" (Num.8:11).

As a wave offering, they were "waved" before the Lord, signifying that they were being given to God, yet only symbolically, since they still had a function to serve here on earth. If they were given to the Lord literally, they would have all been killed.

As living sacrifices, God wants to have the ownership of our entire selves, yet He chooses to leave us here on earth so we could still serve Him and represent Him before the world.

The only problem with a living sacrifice though, is that it tends to crawl off of the altar!


The word "holy" (Greek, hagios) means "set apart". It carries at least two ideas.

1. Purpose.

To be set apart for a special purpose.

A lot of people are looking for purpose in their life. They are asking the question, "Why do I exist?"

God wants us to be set apart for HIS purposes.

He wants exclusive rights to your life. He wants to be the only one calling the shots, calling the plays.

He has a wonderful plan for your life. As God, as Creator, He knows exactly how your life was designed to work out. He knows exactly what works best for you.

2. Purity

Holiness not only denotes our being set apart for God's purposes, but our being set apart from sin.

An example:

1TH 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; {that is,} that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

When we offer ourselves to God, there is a sense in which we are to be turning away from our sin.

Acceptable to God

I can't help but think of the admonition God gave over and over in the Old Testament concerning acceptable sacrifices.

The principle was that you didn't give God your second best.

Don't give God your leftovers (Leftover time, energy, finances). Give Him the best of you.

:1 which is your reasonable service.

reasonable – The word in Greek is logikos from which we get our word "logical".

Giving ourselves wholly to the Lord is the only reasonable, logical, sensible thing to do.

service – There are different words in the Greek used to describe what we call "worship".

One of my favorites is proskuneo. It means literally "to kiss toward", and carries the idea of adoration, giving praise, bowing down and worshipping God.

But the word used here is latreuo, which is used here is used specifically to describe the work that would be done in a temple. It would be used to describe the sacrifices, the incense, lighting the lamps, and all the work involved in producing temple worship.

The giving of ourselves to the Lord is the logical way to serve the Lord, and is like the giving of a sacrifice to the Lord.

:2 And be not conformed to this world

The idea here is like that of being formed into another’s pattern.

One of my kids has a "Play Dough Camera", where you fill the camera with Play Dough, then squish the clay into a mold that has an impression in it, and the clay comes out with the picture in it of the mold.

Except what we often get squished into is not some toy mold, but the very ways of the world.

God wants you different from the world. He doesn't want you trying to "fit in" and be like everyone else. He has a different mold for you to fit into.

What are the patterns that the world has to offer?

Being rich and famous – a brother in our church works for a company who has a contract installing a security system for a super wealthy person. The house itself is 300 feet long, he counted 15 separate water heaters under the house, over 200 alarm triggers being installed. Is this what life is all about?

(1 Tim 6:10 KJV) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

:2 but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,

transformedmetamorphoo (metamorphosis) – to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure

It's not taking the same materials and forcing it into a different shape, it's taking clay and changing it into gold. It's remaking the very floorboards of your heart.

by the renewing of your mind

Here's how the transforming takes place, through the doorway of your mind, making it new all over again.

The battle is all over your mind. What will it spend it's time processing?

(Phil 4:8-9 KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. {9} Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

When you are in your car, who decides what station to listen to? Who decides what tape to play? Who decides which CD to listen to? You do.

You have a choice of what tapes you’re going to put into your mind. God wants you transformed by having your mind made new, by playing His "tapes".


Why is the expenditure of time and energy so worth the effort entailed in memorizing Scripture? Because our life is lived in our mind. More than 10,000 thoughts a day pass through that gray matter neatly tucked between our ears. Theologian A.W. Tozer once said, "Our thoughts not only reveal what we are, they predict what we will become. We will soon be the sum total of our thoughts." The Holy Spirit feeds on the spiritual nourishment of the Word to rewire our mental computer, thereby effectively changing our attitudes and actions.

-- Charles R. Swindoll, The Christian Life, (Vision House, 1994), p. 79.

:2 that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

When you choose to do these things, offering yourself as a living sacrifice, not being conformed to the world, being transformed with a new mind, then you will prove something.

You will prove just what God's will is like.

What will happen is that you will see what God's desires for you are all about. You will see God's desires at work in your life. Everybody around you, including yourself, will see clearly just what God's will is like.

The Greek word here is thelema, it speaks more of God's desires, God's wishes for us. It is not the word used to describe what God on His throne decrees and it happens no matter what. It describes what His heart is like, what His first choice is for us.

God's will for my life is good

Sometimes we get this strange idea that God is out to get us. Somehow He's going to ruin our lives if we give in to Him.

JER 29:11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the \Lord\, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.