A Living Gift

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:1-2

Jesus Christ, who exhorts His followers to follow Him, was the world’s premier nonconformist. He didn’t fit the world’s mold. He established a new norm. He is our pattern. 

“I beseech you,” parakalo, primarily means “to come alongside.” This is a positive offer of encouraging help. It is physically illustrated by response to an injured teammate in athletics. Suppose a leg or ankle is injured. A teammate comes alongside, puts his shoulder under the injured friend’s arm and supports him. The word “beseech” speaks of tenderness.

Those beseeched are called “brethren,” a word that translated the Greek adelphoi. It denotes blood kin. The blood we have in common is the blood of Jesus. The basis of the appeal is “the mercy of God.” This is the highest motivation factor possible. This passage speaks of – – – 

I.   A CONFORMED BODY      (vs. 2a)    “Do not be conformed”

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold.”

This is an appeal to avoid appearing to be something you aren’t. If you are a Christian, don’t give the appearance you aren’t.

“This world,” translates aion, meaning a social order contrary to God’s will.

“Be not conformed” is present passive imperative plus a negative meaning: “Stop being molded to the realm of worldliness.” Worldliness is a mental attitude.

Every act indicates whether we are controlled by the Holy Spirit or the old sin nature. 

This is an appeal not to use spiritual camouflage to blend into the world’s environment. We are to present our bodies as “living” sacrifices. In the Old Testament, dead sacrifices were made. This calls for a perpetual sacrifice. 

Such a life is “holy and acceptable.” “Holy” means set apart.


The world wants to control your mind, so it exerts pressure from without. The Holy Spirit wants to control your mind, so He provided power from within. 

If the world controls how you think, you are being conformed. If the Holy Spirit controls your thinking, you are being transformed. Stop being conformed and start being transformed.

The Greek word translated “transformed” gives us our English word “metamorphosis,” a total change. The change from a pupa in a cocoon to a butterfly is metamorphosis, a complete change. That is what God requires of us. This “renewing”  is to be life long, on-going. It is as radical as a tadpole changing into a frog.

III.  A REFORMED LIFE (vs. 1 & 2)

The appeal to “present your bodies” is a command deserving a definite commitment.

This gift of our self is “acceptable,” well pleasing, to God.

It is “reasonable,”  that which follows reason.

With the Holy Spirit controlling you from within the world can not squeeze you into its mold. It is an on-going life-long process.