What is Holy, Acceptable and Reasonable?
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present Your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, But be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ESV
Paul after laying out the plan of righteousness by faith, which he has taken the time to explain in chapters 1 – 11 of Romans, now appeals to his readers. What is his appeal? To awaken the heart to the mercies of God. Because Righteousness by faith means not only forgiveness of sin but also newness of life. It includes sanctification as well as justification. All this is done by the transformation of reconciliation because God, gave of His Son. Not only did he give of His son, but His Son, Jesus Christ willingly gave of himself. Giving up all of heaven, all honor and all glory, that He might ransom mankind.
Therefore because of this mercy that was extended to undeserving mankind, we are to present the only thing that we have to give and that is our bodies.
How are we to present our bodies? As a living sacrifice! What does it mean to sacrifice? To give up something. Or even better to give up of self and our selfish desires. It is to submit our will, our selfish desires to God.
When we eliminate our selfish desires we then are setting ourselves apart from the world. Because we have separated that ourselves from the world, it then allows the Holy Spirit to come inside us to make us holy and acceptable to God.
So important is this that it should become our desire for spiritual worship, or as some version state it our service. The English language makes this statement “reasonable service” or “worship” as somewhat ambiguous. It might be taken to mean a service that is fitting or proper, an act of worship that is reasonable for one to perform. But this is not the sense of the Greek. Paul is speaking of a worship that pertains to the mind, the reason, the soul, as distinguished from that which is external and material.
The Christian’s dedication of himself to a life of purity and holiness is an act of spiritual worship. He no longer offers animals in sacrifice but rather himself as an act of religious service that pertains to his reason.
This is the same thing that Peter described in I Peter 2:5 where he says “A holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
Therefore, this verse attaches profound significance to the principles of healthful living. The believer performs an act of spiritual worship by offering to God a holy and healthy body, alone with the consecrated mind and heart, because by doing so he submits all there is of him to God’s will and opens the way for the full restoration in him of the divine image. It is an act of religious service to preserve the physical powers in the best possible condition.
The reason is that the Christian glorifies God in his body (see I Corinthians 6:20; and I Corinthians 10:31) by serving as a living example of God’s saving grace and by participating with increased strength and vigor in the work of spreading the gospel.
I Peter 1:13-15 says, Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as a in our ignorance: but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written “Be holy, for I am holy.”
In Romans, Paul is pleading with his reader to not be transformed by the things of this present age. The Christian should not allow himself or herself to be fashioned or molded by following their former habits when they lived according to the flesh. On the contrary he must undergo a complete transformation by the renewing of their mind.
Therefore do not be confirmed to the things of this present age, but transformed or “metamorphosis.” This is the same word Matthew and Mark used to describe that which took place with Christ upon the mount of transfiguration. In II Corinthians 3:18 it describes transformation of the believer into the image of Christ. Paul is saying that as a Christian, you should not copy the external and fleeting fashions of this work, but should be thoroughly changed in his inmost nature. Sanctification includes both an outward separation from all the unholy customs of this age and an inward transformation of the believer himself should take place as they replace these earthly things with things of Heaven.
When Nicodemus came to Christ for his midnight interview, Jesus describes this process of new birth (John 3:3). This new birth is the result of first dying to self and being resurrected (Romans 6:4, 11, 13), a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
Before conversion, man’s power of reason, the faculty for discerning between right and wrong is under the dominion of bodily impulses. The mind is described as a “fleshly mind” (Colossian 2:18). But at the time of conversion the mind comes under the influence of the Spirit of God. The result is that “we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:13-16). The words “a new heart also will I give you.“ Means a new mind will I give you. The death of the old life in the flesh and beginning of the new life in the Spirit is described as The washing or regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
This is not an instantaneous change. It begins when the believer is convicted of sin, seeks forgiveness for their sins and then continues for the rest of his or her life time. The renewing of the inward man is renewed day by day (II Corinthian 4:16). As the inward life is being progressively changed, the sanctification of mind will reveal itself in a holier way of living and the character of Christ will be more and more perfectly reproduced in the believer.
There are a lot of false teachers and false doctrine out in this world. How is it that we can know and recognize when these teachings are presented to us? By establishing a relationship with Christ. Allowing the Holy Spirit to enter your life and to renew our life. It comes by daily time in study and prayer. It comes when by the renewing of our mind we begin to reflect Christ’s character and not our own character. It is in this way we can then prove what is good, what is acceptable. It is this way we can know and understand the perfect will of God for our lives.