1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
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Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to
God—this is true worship. 2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve
what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of
yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with
sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to
each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
The NIV (New International Version) translation of Romans 12:1-2 used to read, "offer your bodies as living sacrifices" (bodies plural and sacrifices plural), but has now been revised to read, "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice" (bodies plural and sacrifice singular). This revision is consistent with the NAS (New American Standard) translation of the same verses: "present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice."
is Paul's exhortation in these verses for individuals or for the
church? I think the answer is, "Yes." We are to offer our bodies (plural) as a sacrifice (singular). Because the church—the body of Christ, is a community made up of many individuals, we should think of Romans 12:1-2 in both ways. This community meaning is clear when we read these verses in the context of the chapter, but an individualistic meaning tends to take over when we hear the verses quoted in isolation from their context.
Response and Action:
an individual, I am to offer myself as a living sacrifice. As a
church, we are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. The sacrifice
and worship I offer to God must be in both my personal walk with Christ
and my corporate walk with Christ's Church. Both personal devotion and Christian community are essential to understanding God's good, pleasing, and perfect will.
God, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength,
and to love others as I love myself. Give me a heart that is devoted
to you, and a life that is devoted to Christian community. Help me/us
to be shaped by you and to honor you. Help me/us to experience and
share your grace with each other. Make me/us a testimony of your
goodness. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Ephesians 3:17b-18
17b ...I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...
The Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends
by Richard Lamb