True Worship (Part Two)- Romans 12:1-2

In our previous post, Jesus tells us what true worship is, what kind of worship God really desires, and that what He desires involves a sacrifice. We are also told that this sacrifice must be in spirit and truth, that the sacrifice is no longer outward and physical, but inward and spiritual. We will now turn to the Apostle Paul in order to learn exactly what this sacrifice is to be, and Paul tells us what form this worship (sacrifice) is to take in Romans 12. We will examine verse 1, where Paul “urges” us to do something. The word translated urge here is parakaleo, and has a wide range of meaning, from beg to invite to command. The NIV translation “urge” captures its meaning here well, for this is not an invitation or begging, but more of a command. It is also in the present tense, meaning that Paul here is continually urging us to continually do something. We are to do so in view of God’s mercies (plural here), in light of all that God has done for us, what Paul is about to urge us to do is our most appropriate response. The word mercies here is oiktirmos, literally pity or compassion. God took pity on us when we were helpless and hopeless, lost in our sin, and sent His Son to take care of our problem, to do for us what we could not do and give us what we could never earn or deserve. In light of that, we are then to respond in a certain way. And how are we to respond? With true worship, and Paul here tells us what true worship is, what the kind of worship which God seeks looks like. And how do we do so? By “offering our bodies as living sacrifices”. The word offer here is paristemi, literally “to place beside”, and here means to put them at God’s disposal, to lay them at His feet to be used by Him however He sees fit. We “live” through our bodies, and true worship is to put our bodies at God’s disposal to let Him “live” through them instead. We do this by being a “living sacrifice”. In a conventional sacrifice, the body dies and the blood is offered in sacrifice, but in this sacrifice the body does not die, but is “living”, and is laid upon the altar, all of it offered up to God as a living sacrifice. The sacrifice is also to be “holy”. The word translated holy here is hagios, literally “set apart for God’s use”. Our bodies are offered up to God, laid upon the altar, placed at His feet and presented to Him to use as He sees fit. This is what Jesus meant by worshipping in spirit and truth, this is the true worship which God seeks, and it is this kind of worship which pleases Him (Rom. 12:1). True biblical worship, therefore, is to offer our bodies a living sacrifice, to say “Here I am Lord, do with me what you will, my body is yours to use for your service and your glory”. So what about other things which are commonly referred to as “worship” (like singing)? They are part of worship but, are not the worship which God really seeks according to Scripture. Church “worship” services are set up the way they are for a reason. It is standard practice to begin with singing, and this is the first part of worship, for music engages the emotions. The engaging of the emotions serve to bring our focus upon the Lord, to focus the mind for the next part of the worship service, the proclamation of the Word of God. This is the second part of worship, the receiving of and encounter with the truth of the Scriptures, through which God works for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), showing us what He would have us to do with our lives. Both of these types of worship serve to bring us to the place of true worship, to worshipping in spirit and truth, to the place where we offer our bodies as living sacrifices. The worshippers God seeks are those who come before Him as living sacrifices, saying “here I am Lord, do with me what you will”. It matters not, then, how well we sang, how many goose bumps we got, how much we cried or how much we learned, for if we have not come to the place where we say “here I am Lord, do with me what you will”, to the place where we have offered our bodies as living sacrifices, we have not worshipped God in the way which He seeks. May we all come to this place at every worship service, and leave with our bodies offered up to Him to use as He sees fit, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, as the type of worshipper God truly seeks, for this is our spiritual act of worship, this is worshipping in spirit.

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