Journal Ro 12 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy and acceptable to God—which is your spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Ro 12:1-2
Observation: There are two things that Paul is making sure is communicated by appeal:
- Response to the World, and;
- Response to God.
Analysis: What is it about me that I can get all caught up in the detail and ignore the big, sweeping, 50,000-foot things of what God says to me?
I mean, really: Later in this chapter I see how I am to navigate the world of the church and within the brotherhood of believers; like “keep my head on straight about my ego”; “don’t have fake love, have genuine love”; and other things.
But to do those things starts with everything before 12:1 but is succinctly summed up as action/attitude steps.
- Present yourselves as a spiritual sacrifice in worship. Now I take that mental picture to the nth degree: I lay my life, my will, my ego, my wants and dreams and desires, etc. at the foot of the Cross. This isn’t about Salvation now; it is about how am I going to live my life?
- Don’t be conformed to this world. Hard to do when from birth until now my life has walked in lockstep in conformance to everything around me.
Being a Christian disciple is broadly about these two things: Responding sacrificially to God and conforming my mind to His mind. It is not about mission or tasks or anything like that. It is about being changed to be more like the character of Jesus, becoming godly, pursuing holiness.
Remember the difference between Justification and Sanctification: I am Justified in Christ. That is all the Trinity’s purpose and execution. Presenting my body, conforming my mind: this is Sanctification, the process in which I am in partnership/association with the Holy Spirit to accomplish. Having mission, tasks, behavior change, etc. is important—but it is not the main point of being a disciple.
Hammer point: Justification and Sanctification. Justification is done by God. Sanctification is to be pursued with God.
What did I learn? I can get caught up in the detail of doing Christianity and not realize I am not becoming.
Prayer: Father, it is hard to split the hairs of theology. I appreciate the word you dropped in my dreams last night that for man we learn step by step, 1st things over 2nd things, then 3rd things and so on. I don’t go from 1+1=2 right to E=MC2; nor can I coherently add the 1+1 discussion and the e=mc2 together without context drawing them together. So, please help the readers put the above in proper Biblical context. AMEN.