September 21, 2017

Romans 12:1 (NLT) — 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

The Romans had Paul to plead for them to give their bodies to God as living and holy sacrifices. I wonder how they received his pleading. Did they take it to heart as a word that was really inspired by God or did they feel that Paul was just putting a guilt trip on them? In the first eleven chapters of this book of Romans Paul explained to them very thoroughly that they had been justified or had a right standing with God because of their faith in Jesus. With that act of faith in Jesus God wiped their sin record clean. The act of Jesus on the cross had freed the Romans from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and guaranteed a place for them in heaven free from the presence of sin!

On the basis of all that God had done for them through Jesus Christ Paul pleads for them to show their gratitude by living holy lives for the Lord. Jesus had sacrificed for them so now out of appreciation they were to sacrifice for Him. Paul was pleading with them because some of them weren’t being living holy sacrifices. I know this because of what he said at the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 Romans. At the end of chapter 1 this is what he says about those who refuse to give themselves at all to Jesus:

Romans 1:29–32 (NLT) — 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Now listen to what he says to the believers in Rome:

Romans 2:1 (NLT) — 1 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.

I have observed over the years that it is hard for us human beings to fully admit our wrong doings and we never tire of making excuses for our bad behavior. I had a person tell me years ago that he was going to do something sinful but he wasn’t concerned about it because he would just ask God to forgive him. And yet this person would look down on other people who would sin in the same way. We humans are good at excusing our bad behavior. When we point fingers and excuse ourselves we have stopped worshipping. Remember the old adage that if you are pointing a finger at someone you have three fingers pointing back at you.

Because of Satan and his demons and our sinful nature which are all against us living for Jesus we need to have someone in our lives who will plead with us to give our bodies to God. It is easy to become complacent, to fudge a little bit here and there, to lose the keen edge of holiness.

This is why it is so very important to be regularly reading God’s word. The Holy Spirit uses the word to plead with us to give our bodies to God. Remember that Jesus himself said that we do not just live on food but we need to live on every word of God.(Matt.4:4).

Is the pleading of the Word of God enough to cause you to give yourself to God each day? If so, great! I find that from time to time I also need someone with skin on to plead with me.  I guess that is why we need preachers. Pleading preachers however are not popular. Preachers who remind people of the judgement of God are few and far between and they certainly aren’t popular. Preachers who talk about sin are accused of meddling.

Who pleads for you? Who helps you keep your keen edge of holiness? Who is there to remind you that Monday – Saturday are also days of worship? Because of all God has done for us isn’t he worthy of daily worship?

Be Inspired Hilltop!