Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A living sacrifice

Romans 12, 1-6. 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God bath dealt to each man a measure of faith. 4 For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office: 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another. And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us.

As before said, the world cannot endure the sight or hearing of this living sacrifice; therefore it opposes it on every side. With its provocations and threats, its enticements and persecutions, it has every advantage, aided by the fact that our minds and spirits are not occupied with that spiritual sacrifice, but we give place to the dispositions and inclinations of the world.

We must be careful, then, to follow neither the customs of the world nor our own reason or plausible theories. We must constantly subdue our dis- positions and control our wills, not obeying the dictates of reason and desire. Always we are to conduct ourselves in a manner unlike the way of the world. So shall we be daily changed renewed in our minds. That is, we come each day to place greater value on the things condemned by human reason by the world.

Daily we prefer to be poor, sick and despised, to be fools and sinners, until ultimately we regard death as better than life, foolishness as more precious than wisdom, shame nobler than honor, labor more blessed than wealth, and sin more glorious than human righteousness. Such a mind the world does not possess. The mind of the world is altogether unlike the Christian's. It not only continues unchanged and unrenewed in its old disposition, but is obdurate and very old.

God's will is ever good and perfect, ever gracious; but it is not at all times so regarded of men. Indeed, human reason imagines it to be the evil, unfriendly, abominable will of the devil, because what reason esteems highest, best and holiest, God's will regards as nothing and worthy of death.

Therefore, Christian experience must come to the rescue and decide. It must feel and prove, must test and ascertain, whether one is prompted by a sincere and gracious will. He who perseveres and learns in this way will go for- ward in his experience, finding God's will so gracious and pleasing he would not exchange it for all the world's wealth.

He will discover that acceptance of God's will affords him more happiness, even in poverty, disgrace and adversity, than is the lot of any worldling in the midst of earthly honors and pleasures. He will finally arrive at a degree of perfection making him inclined to exchange life for death, and, with Paul, to desire to depart that sin may no more live in him, and that the will of God may be done perfectly in himself in every relation.

In this respect he is wholly unlike the world; he conducts himself very differently from it. For the world never has enough of this life, while the experienced Christian is ready to be removed. What the world seeks, he avoids; what it avoids, he seeks.

Sermons of Martin Luther, Vol. 7 Baker House

Taken from Peacemakers

4 comments:

Steve Martin said...

When Martin Luther had doubts that he was living(doing)rightly, as per the will of God, he wrote on the wall Wartburg Castle, "I am Baptized".

This was not some superstitious belief in baptism, but a trusting of the promises that God had made to him in that baptism. That the sinful (Old Adam) was put to death and the new man was raised with Christ.

Luther also wrote this:

" The law is what we ought to do; the
gospel however is of God, what God wishes to
give. The first we are unable to accomplish,
but the second we are able to receive, namely,
through faith."

There was much exhorting of people to live rightly, in Luther's time (as there is today). It is not a bad thing.

But one ought realize that we cannot live rightly. That we WILL NOT TO. (read Luther's 'Bondage of the Will' - his favorite work that he produced)

Thanks, Wayne!

Ike said...

What is the world in comparison to Christ? Its seemingly countless wonders and worth are nothing when weighed in the presence of the One who formed and sustains them. Compared to Christ...even the entire universe is an insignificant nothing, scarcely able to evoke a yawn from those most easily astonished. Furthermore...what are all the accomplishments of this world in comparison to the smallest act of obedience to Christ? The fulfillment of even the most minute Christian duty is a greater achievement than the climbing of Everest or the winning of the Nobel Prize. Even giving a cup of cold water in His name does not go without divine notice or eternal reward. "We" should serve the Lord with all our hearts and every fiber of our strength. Why should we spend ourselves for temporal trinkets, when eternal glory is within our grasp? In the words of Elliot..."He is no fool to give up that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he can never lose." Finally...what are the trophies of this age in comparison to the souls of men? There are many things in this world that can be won by perserverance and sacrifice, but none of them are eternal. Gold medals and the accolades of men, houses, lands, and riches are quick to rot and rust. Those who seek them are on a fool's errand, but he who wins souls is wise. It has been said that there are onlt three things eternal....God...the Word of God...and the souls of men. Let's press hard to win them before it is too late. Let's give ourselves for countless millions who have no Savior and no eternal hope! After two thousand years the harvest is still plentiful and the laborers are still few!

Wayne Dawg said...

Thanks Steve -

What brought the above from Luther home to me was this:

"In this respect he is wholly unlike the world; he conducts himself very differently from it."

Yes, we stumble and fall, no question about that. But we are to be conducting ourselves very differently from the world; because we are not of the world.

That is the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

The man of the world will look like the world.

Wayne Dawg said...

Ike -

Amen!

Wonderfully written brother.