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“Present Your Bodies”
In this 12th chapter of Romans, Paul is talking to us about living for Christ. He is calling for devotion to Christ, consecration to Christ.
Though few seem to catch it, if you will read the chapter carefully, you will see that the devotion, consecration, and service to which Paul here calls us is devotion, consecration, and service to God’s church. — We present our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, our dear Savior, only as we present our bodies to God in his house, to worship him and serve one another.
What was the very first thing you were convinced of after God saved you; I mean the very first thing you just knew, knew (really) without anyone telling you? — “I need to be in the house of God.” That is what Paul tells us here. Since God has been so gracious to you, it is the most sensible thing in the world for you to commit yourself to the church and kingdom of God. — If you would serve Christ, serve his church.
In this portion of Holy Scripture, God the Holy Ghost calls all who are joined to Christ in life to make it our business to worship God, to make it our business to be in the house of God with the people of God when they are gathered to worship God (Psalm 84:6-8).
What could be more reasonable? Here we are transformed and renewed by the Spirit of God. Here we are taught how to avoid being conformed to this world. Through the Word of God faithfully preached, we learn to worship God in Spirit and in truth, and learn how to live in this world always looking to Christ. Here we learn what the will of God is, as it is revealed by the preaching of the gospel. God’s will is the glory of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the everlasting salvation of his elect (Romans 8:28-30).
We give our bodies a living sacrifice to God when, trusting Christ, we devote ourselves to the church and people of God, “not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Hebrews 10:25). The only way under heaven by which we can serve God is by serving his people! If we would do that, we must think of ourselves as God teaches us to think of ourselves (v. 3), as sinners saved by grace (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Then, Paul tells us that we are “one body in Christ” (vv. 4-5). All the Inspired teaching of Holy Scripture with regard to public worship and the ordinances of Divine worship is specifically addressed to local churches, like those spoken of in Revelation 1-3.
As members of the body of Christ, being placed in the body exactly as we are by the grace of God, we each have gifts needful and useful for the body, gifts “differing according to the grace that is given to us.” It is our privilege and responsibility to use those gifts for the benefit of the whole body of Christ in the service of God (vv. 6-13).