Your Reasonable Service

man-37977William J. Stewart | Texts To Pause & Ponder On

The book of Romans is filled with many great statements. The book begins with the declaration that the gospel “…is the power of God to salvation…” (1:16), and ends with the promise that “…the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (16:20). Between these, we find many other exceptional verses of faith. In our time today, we want to focus on Romans 12:1-2.

The text reads:

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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

There are a bunch of rich concepts in these two verses. Consider:

  • Rather than the dead sacrifices of the Old Covenant, we give ourselves, our lives as a living sacrifice to the Lord;
  • Like under the old covenant, not just any sacrifice is acceptable. We must present ourselves as holy (sanctified, set apart) to God.
  • We are not to conform to this world, realizing that the world is condemned before God. Instead, we are to be changed (the Greek for metamorphosis is used here).
  • If we put God’s word into practice, we’ll find it is good and has the power to renew (renovate) our minds.

There are a lot of really neat ideas in these 2 verses. The phrase that catches my attention the most is at the end of verse 1.

Some translations render it “spiritual service” or “spirit-ual worship,” but I think the KJV and NKJV translators have given the best translation of logikos latreia, calling it “reas-onable service.”

Yes, it is spiritual service that Paul is writing about, but the word spiritual really does not capture the idea he shares. A transliteration of the first word in the phrase would result in “logical service.” It makes sense; it is a rational decision for us to serve God.

There are a number of ways we can speak of our decision to follow Christ. It is a decision based on love—His love for us, as well as our love for Him. It shows a focus on eternal rather than temporal things.  It is a choice for salvation of the soul rather than damnation. It sets our hope in heaven. It acknowledges the authority of God’s word. We could keep going, but quite simply, it is logical.

Often in our world Christians are accused of serving God out of blind faith. Sadly, that could be the case for some, but our decision to follow Christ should be based in logical conviction. It is sensible to obey and live; it makes no sense to disobey and suffer destruction.

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