“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God …”
The word “beseech” can mean “to call alongside, summon” and thus “exhort” or “encourage”. It is a word that carries both the firmness and affection expressed in one’s communication. The apostle’s language does not give a hint that compliance to his exhortations is an optional matter. The great doctrines of the Bible are not static, but dynamic. They produce great acts of godliness in those who were once indifferent to the Lord and wallowing in sin.
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul has hitherto been teaching them the unchangeable truths about salvation by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has taught them that in Christ, all their condemnations are removed, and that they stand justified and accepted before God. Their glorification is guaranteed, even though they have been persecuted and maligned by the wicked world.
Now, the apostle is about to urge the readers to act on the truths they have received, making the truth of God’s gracious salvation the foundation of their Christian practice. That is why he began by saying, “I beseech you therefore…” Then Paul adds a note of warmth and earnestness to his exhortation by addressing the readers as “brethren”. He expects that the believers will not only listen with great esteem, but also obey with enthusiasm.
To excite the believers to greater compliance to the truths of God, the apostle then proceeded to appeal to God’s mercy. The summon to an obedient life does not come in a vacuum; it is wrapped in God’s mercies. It is the outpouring of divine mercies that exhorts us to live a life that is adorned with the divine truths. We recognize that the word “mercies” (in plural) denotes all that God has done for us in His Son, which Paul has surveyed in chapters 1–11. Everyone who gratefully acknowledges the abundant mercies of God extended to him in Christ, would happily yield to every divine counsel and appropriate it.
“That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Herein we have the solemn instruction of the apostle Paul concerning what entails genuine worship of God. Two words here, “sacrifice” and “service”, evoke the idea of worship. The word “sacrifice” (thusía) is used here in the sense of an offering rendered to the Lord in worship. Likewise, the word “service” (latreía) denotes a service rendered in worship of God.
All Christians are exhorted to “present your bodies a living sacrifice”. The Greek word for “present” is also translated as “yield”. We are to yield our bodies not as a dead sacrifice on the altar (as in Old Testament sacrifices), but as a living sacrifice. We need not offer our body or anything else as our substitute on the altar. Christ has offered Himself on our behalf as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us. So, no more substitutionary sacrifice is required of us. Here, we are exhorted to yield our bodies not as carcasses on the altar to be burned, but as lives consecrated to God.
Our bodies are to be consecrated to God as “holy”. As Paul exhorted earlier in chapter 6, verse 13, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” True worshippers of God ought to consecrate themselves to live holy lives before the Lord. Our bodies must be instruments of righteousness. Only when we yield ourselves and our bodies to live in holiness, can we glorify God. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (1 Corinthians 6:20). We must strive to order our lives so that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
The worship that is acceptable and pleasing to God can only be rendered by those who live holy lives as true children of God. It is a despicable thing for a worshipper of God to continue to live in sin. Unholy living is most displeasing and outrageous to God. No genuine worship exists in hearts that have no commitment to live in obedience to His holy Word. Any offering of worship presented by unholy hands is an outrageous act in His presence. It is unthinkable and illogical to think that the Most Holy God can be served with unholy hands. The reasonable service to God can only be rendered when our bodies are His holy temples (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18-19).
Praise God for the following new Church Session 2015–2017, which was elected during the ACM & Election last Lord’s Day:
|1. Rev Prabhudas Koshy .......................||as Pastor and Chairman of Session|
|2. Eld Mah Chin Kwang...........................||as Elder and Clerk of Session|
|3. Eld Ng Poh Kok...................................||as Elder and Treasurer|
|4. Eld Choy Weng Heng, Alan.................||as Elder and Assistant Treasurer|
|5. Dn Lee Kek Gee, Francis....................||as Deacon and Assistant Clerk of Session|
|6. Dn Lim Cheng Kwang, Kelvin..............||as Deacon and Member of Session|
|7. Dn Lim Hoe Chiang, Daniel.................||as Deacon and Member of Session|
|8. Dn Lok Kwok Wah..............................||as Deacon and Member of Session|
|9. Dn Low Boon Siang............................||as Deacon and Member of Session|