SACRED    Romans 12

Around the world, there are world surfing reserves and places of spiritual significance to the tribe. I think of places like Pipeline, Waimea, Snapper Rocks, and Bells Beach. Places that are significant to the culture of surfing and held in esteem, as special, spiritual, hallowed ground. Places that are mentioned in hushed tones and conjure up fantastic images of perfect waves and daring feats. 

Consecrated is the word that mostly comes to my mind for such special places…

Consecrate |ˈkɒnsɪkreɪt| verb [ with obj. ]

make or declare (something, typically a church) sacred; dedicate formally to a religious purpose.

It is this word that most defines chapter 12 of Romans. Paul has turned the corner, he has exhaustively explained the gospel, how a gracious God, lovingly receives sinners. Now he looks at how we are to respond. 12:1 I appeal to you, therefore, (therefore, because of all that God has done as explained in the last 11 chapters summarised as) … the mercies of God. WE SHOULD … present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

In effect we are to be consecrated, instead of giving sacrifice, we are to be one. God has declared us righteous in Christ, now we are to live, as we have been declared to be. This cannot be done simply by adopting new outward practices and habits, exchanging the old for the new. This consecration can only come by renewing of the mind… 2 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. 

Give yourself to God, fully committed to pleasing him and living for his glory. Set your mind upon it, let it occupy your thoughts and heart. The actions will follow the transformation of the mind, not vice versa, this was the mistaken logic of the Pharisees. They disciplined the body but the mind and hearts were far from God. Give yourself to serving Gods’ will, not your own.

Paul works through this in two areas. Gods’ will for the church or body of believers vs 3-8 and then Gods’ will for us the growing of our graces. 9-21. You see in the early church faith and belief were corporate and to be expressed rightly within the context of community. Similar to the great surfing reserves and destinations of the world they are meant to be for the enjoyment of all, not private individual playgrounds. Our salvation, consecration, and subsequent transformation is meant to be a corporate shared journey. Lived out in the context of the Ekklesia (church). I don’t subscribe to the notion of individual faith. You can not love God and be called to be in his family and not love the family of God.

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organizations do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always. —A.W Tozer

12: 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:

* How can you serve the body and use your gifts if you won’t connect with it? All you are doing is serving yourself. This is why Paul begins with… 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

* Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought. If Christ died for the church and loves her; shouldn’t we?

Love God and his people vs 3-8 and Love others… this is given expression and instruction in vs 9-21. Commonly called the graces because living like this expresses how much grace we have been shown by God and therefore how much we should reflect our father in heaven by showing grace to others. This is a great thermometer by which to check the temperature of your faith journey…

* Hot or cold, maybe lukewarm?
* How’s your love for the church, the ekklesia going?
* Have you thought of your life, mind, and self as being consecrated unto God?

God’s mercy and grace give me hope – for myself and for our world. — Billy Graham

I have so many things to work on and so many ways that I fail. But that’s what grace is all about. And I constantly wake up every morning trying to get better, trying to improve, trying to walk closer to God. — Tim Tebow

Due to our consumer mindset, people are prone to jump from church to church, which weakens the church overall. — Francis Chan

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organizations do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always. —A.W Tozer