In the early chapters of Romans Paul emphasized the universal plight of sin in the lives of both Jews and Gentiles. Then he presented the provision of salvation by grace through faith, and not law and works; then [in 9-11] he explained how the Jews had rejected the salvation plan and suggested that their rejection was used by God to reach the Gentile nation. This has been a heart warming theological discussion of God’s plan for man. Beginning in chapter 12, Paul moves from the theological study to the practical use in individual lives.
Paul begins in verse one by making a challenge to all listeners and readers. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” When Paul uses the word sacrifices here he is making reference to the sacrifice of animals in the OT, but God and Christ have made it clear that obedience from the heart is much more important than the sacrifice of bulls and goats. God is looking for a committed life. Are you committed? If your answer is yes; do your actions prove it? Have you become as a little child in your faith and trust?
For some reason it is very difficult for adults [especially men] to think like and emulate children in their daily life. Jesus knew this was the condition of adult hearts and in Matthew 18:2, he was dealing with the problem when he called a child, had him stand in front of the people and said: “Remember this! Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.” What did he mean? He was simply saying that if we want to please God we must obtain and maintain the attitude of a child that normally has inherited an abiding faith in their parents and a strong desire to be accepted by both parents and others such as teachers, ministers, and anyone in a guardian position.
Children desire to please their parents in order to receive their approval. Young students try to please their teachers not just to make good grades but they crave recognition and respect. A child has an implicit trust in a parent; so much so that they will stand on a high platform and jump into the arms of the father—believing that they will be protected from harm; a child who can not swim will jump from a diving board into a pool of water if dad is there to catch them…that is faith in action. Their action demonstrates their love for the one that will save them. Love at this magnitude has no hypocrisy in it; and it is important that we realize this for in 12:9, Paul tells us that “Love must be without hypocrisy, detest evil; and cling to that which is good.”
God is our Heavenly Father, and he wants us to offer ourselves [not dead animals] but a living soul as a daily sacrifice through our obedience. Do I believe in the “Security of the Believer?” Yes I do. But I also believe that there are some who may believe that they are saved when they may not be. How can one know for sure? DOES YOUR LIFE PLEASE GOD? You are pleasing God when you continually and willingly trying to do what Paul is telling us here that we must do. We must be constantly aware that our obedience must be rendered because of our love for Him, and what Jesus has already done for us. [Christ died for all and saved us when we trusted him] and our constant and willing obedience is the living proof that we are PLEASING GOD.
The acts of obedience are legion; too numerous for me to list all, but Paul listed some in this chapter and there is enough here to help us know whether God is pleased with us or not. We have different gifts: no man has all gifts but each person has a gift that he can use to obey. We are to use the ones we have; if it is prophesying—use it. If your gift is serving others, then you must serve. If you are an encourager, a contributor, a leader, or can show mercy, then you must do what God has enabled you to do. All acts of obedience must be done out of a heart of love and not for gain. I can not think of any other two words in the bible that are more important than the words ‘love’ and ‘obedience.’
Paul tells us that “our love must be sincere.” He said, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” One gift does apply to all of us, and there is no excuse for our neglect because we can all “Be faithful in our prayer life.”
Do you really care whether or not YOUR LIFE PLEASES GOD? If you do, then you will read the twelfth chapter of Romans. Paul tells us what our personal responsibility entails and it is easy to understand. However, it is not necessarily easy for us to do. You will find the order given in verse 20 to be the most difficult [at times it is for me]. We are to love our enemies, feed them when they are hungry; and give them water when they are thirsty. We are living in a world where people prefer to sue for what they can gain rather than forgive. We are not to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It is imperative that you realize that before you can even think about pleasing God through the life that you are living each day—you must first accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and Lord of your life. If you have been redeemed from a life of sin, I believe that you can read this chapter, obey where you have the gifts to do so and really know that YOUR LIFE IS PLEASING TO GOD. If you are still young—accept Him now while you have time left to lay up many treasures in Heaven; and if you are growing old, surrender your life now, today, because you don’t have much time to spare.