Journal August 2, 2020
Dominion Baptist Church
August 2, 2020 AD
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Vs. 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, Paul starts on a new course, he lays down practical principles drawn forth from the doctrine he set forth in chapters 1 through 11. I beseech (call to one’s side); Brethren (my kinsmen—Jews and Gentiles from the same womb—Christ). Therefore, always points back to something else, and this means we cannot understand the importance of what is coming or the connection between what is coming and what has been said until we know what the therefore is referring to. Charles Hodge in his commentary on Romans summarizes this way: “All the doctrines of justification, grace, election, and final salvation. . . are made the foundation for the practical duties enjoined in this.” Here we find the apostle setting forth that the justified man does not live in the same manner as the man that is a slave to sin; By the mercies of God, the Greek word oiktirmos translated mercies in the NKJV has a much broader meaning than just mercies. Paul uses this Greek word oiktirmos which refers to the inward parts, as the seat of emotions, the heart: Colossians 3: 12-13a Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another; describing our God’s mercy to us. Because God has been so good to us—by the mercies of God Paul tells us we have a work to do. In J. I. Packers book on ‘Rediscovering Holiness’ we read “The secular world never understands Christian motivation. Faced with the question of what makes Christians tick, unbelievers maintain that Christianity is practiced only out of self-serving purposes. They see Christians as fearing the consequences of not being Christian (religion as fire insurance) or feeling the need of help and support to achieve their goals (religion as a crutch) or wishing to sustain a social identity (religion as a badge of respectability). No doubt all these motivations can be found among the membership of churches; it would be futile to dispute that. But just as a horse brought into a house is not thereby made human, a self-seeking motivation brought into the church is not thereby made Christian, nor will holiness ever be the right name for religious routines thus motivated. Christian living is not, and ever must be, the hope of gain, but the heart of gratitude.” John Calvin wrote: “Paul’s entreaty teaches us that men will never worship God with a sincere heart or be roused to fear and obey Him with sufficient zeal, until they properly understand how much they are indebted to His mercy.”
That you present your bodies a living sacrifice; Now we get into the fact that God sent His Son to be a sacrifice for us by redeeming us and joining us to His Son Jesus Christ. Now Paul is telling us that we gain life by dying—we are to become a living sacrifice. I am not teaching works for salvation, instead because we have been saved, made new creations, then we must present our bodies to God. Notice it is a living sacrifice we are to present. We are to offer our bodies to God so that, as a result, we might no longer live for themselves (ourselves) but for Him who died for them (us) and rose again, 2 Corinthians 5:15. The apostle does not elaborate on what he means by bodies but addressed that earlier in chapter 6:12-19. Now this informs the regenerate soul all parts of his/her body are included. Our minds are a part of our body and the victory we need to achieve starts here. Paul addresses this more in the following verse, so we will defer until then. Have you ever considered that what you do with your mind will determine a great deal of what you become as a Christian? If you fill your mind only with the products of this secular culture, you will remain secular and sinful. If you fill your head with trashy novels, you will begin to live like the characters you read about. If all you do is watch television, you will begin to act like the scoundrels on television. But if you feed your mind on the Bible and read Christian books, train your mind by godly conversation, and discipline it to apply what you see and hear by using the truths to the worlds ideas, you will grow in godliness and become increasingly useful to God. Our mind is not the only part of our body by which we receive impressions and that must be offered to God as an instrument of righteousness. We also receive impressions through our eyes and ears, and these must be surrendered to God too. I am not advocating an evangelical monasticism in which we retreat from the culture, although it is far better to retreat from it then perish in it. Somehow the secular must be counterbalanced by the spiritual. Why not try spending as many hours studying your Bible, praying, and going to church as watching television? Our tongue is a part of our body, and what we do with it is important either for good or evil. The Lord’s brother James wrote: The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6). Seeing that our tongues are able to cause so much trouble, because we are not yet perfect, let us use our tongues to praise and serve God and by bridling it. Whenever God opens the door for you to witness, don’t be shy, that person to whom you have the opportunity to speak, may be facing eternity soon. Now our hands and feet are a part of our body, Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 4:11-12 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. He goes a little further in Ephesians 4:28: Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. Paul again tells us of the need of those who cannot hear the gospel unless someone is sent to preach to them. Of these souls that go and preach he says in Romans 10:14: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace. If you can’t go to foreign lands and preach, let your feet carry you to those about you and witness in Christ’s name. By the giving of our bodies to God means offering ourselves, all we are. In this connection John Calvin wrote: “By bodies he means not only our skin and bones, but the totality of which we are composed.” Leon Morris writes in his commentary, “Paul surely expected Christians to offer to God not only their bodies but their whole selves. . .but we should bear in mind that the body is very important in the Christian understanding of things. Our bodies are to be implements of righteousness (6:13) and members of Christ (I Cor. 6:15). The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19); Paul speaks of being holy both in body and in spirit (I Cor. 7:34). He knows that there are possibilities of evil in the body but that in the believer the body of sin has been brought to nothing (6:6). The sacrifice is to be a living sacrifice rather than a dead one. Now in Paul’s day, when sacrifices were always killed, this was a new and novel idea. The one offering the sacrifice would bring an animal to the priest. He would confess his sins while laying his hands on the animal’s head, symbolically transferring them to the animal, and then the animal would be put to death. This was a very vivid way of keeping Israel mindful that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) and that salvation is by substitution. In these sacrifices the animal died and in place of the one that brought it to the priest. But Paul reveals the sacrifice we are to offer is a living sacrifice. We are to offer our lives to God so that we no longer would live for ourselves, but for Him who died for them (us) and rose again (2 Cor. 5:15). We are to offer our new spiritual lives that have been given to us by Christ. Notice the meaning in this verse, we must be Christians if we are to give ourselves to God. Some may give God their money or time or even take up a religious vocation, but only the Christian can give back to God that new spiritual life in Christ that he/she has been given. It’s because we have been made alive in our Lord Jesus Christ that that we are able to do this or even want to. Holy, acceptable to God, have you ever wondered what the word holy means? The Greek is hagios, its central or primary meaning is separated (among the Greeks this meant dedicated to the gods) and in Scripture its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred. When used of men as we have here in our text, in so far as they are devoted to God, the quality is often presented in a way which involves divine demands upon the conduct of believers. They are called saints, i.e., sanctified or holy ones. For God to accept the sacrifice as pointed out in the Old Testament Scriptures it must be holy, without spot or blemish and consecrated entirely to God. Anything else would be an insult to our great and holy God. 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; we who have been redeemed. . .with the precious blood of Christ, of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:15-16; 18). Then the author of Hebrews informs us Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. (12:14). Which is your reasonable service, it is reasonable because of what God has already done for us. The salvation of a Christian is not something that is done once and now it is over. It is a present experience, because God is continuing to work in those whom He has brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The longer we lived before the Spirit quickened us into life makes it harder for us to break those old destructive habits and form new ways of thinking, and please God. But this is exactly what God is doing in us—that is what this text is about. Thank God every time I fall down, He picks me up and I start out again—God does not start something in us and because we fall and miss the mark over and over again, just abandon us—no in mercy and grace He picks us up—He won’t abandon us! So, it is just reasonable that we work hard at being living sacrifices.
No catechism this week due to the Baccalaureate Service. Next week’s catechism will be Q 33.