Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity
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. — Romans 12:1.
Note this, my dear Christian! When desiring to admonish us Christians through the Holy Ghost to sanctify ourselves and to serve God, the Apostle Paul does not say: “Thou shalt!” as the Law does; but he implores us “by the mercies of God.” Believing and remembering the one Great Deed of mercy, our Savior’s vicarious atonement, which purchased our forgiveness, and the thousands of mercies of God in Christ Jesus which we have experienced as its result, we should be willing to consecrate both body and soul to God and to serve Him.
The compulsion exercised by the Law produces no results within us that are acceptable and well pleasing to God. But when the Holy Ghost implores us “by the mercies of God,” and thus admonishes us to serve God henceforth, then we cheerfully do so, provided we do not belie the name we bear: Children of God; and God will graciously accept what thus we do for Jesus’ sake.
But how should we serve God? What should we do?
We should offer praises glorifying our merciful God. What kind of praise offerings? Fruits of the field? Tithes of all we possess? Something much better than that! We should present “our bodies” a sacrifice to God; we should place our whole life, all that we are and whatever we may do and purpose to do, at God’s service. Would you make an exception with regard to anything? Is there anything you would not place at God’s service? Surely not!
Such praise offerings we should bring in true faith, by the power of the Holy Ghost, rendered as evidence of fervent love and gratitude to our merciful God because of His great love for us in Christ Jesus. This, then, will be “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,” though it may have many, yes, a thousand imperfections.
This should be our “reasonable service,” the proper service of the heart and mind, but a service, too, that determines and regulates our every action by the power of the Gospel. Permit yourself, my dear Christian, to be thus sought and entreated “by the mercies of God” for Jesus’ sake.
PRAYER – Indeed, O Lord, most merciful God, I, too, by Thy grace, will gladly do what is well pleasing to Thee for Jesus’ sake; I, too, will place my whole life at Thy service and bring myself, both body and soul, as a praise offering to Thee for what Thou hast done for me in Christ Jesus. But since it is not in my power to do this, I humbly implore Thee to grant me Thy Holy Spirit that, through the power of the Gospel, He may illumine my heart to see the magnitude of Thy grace and impel and persuade me inwardly, through the glad tidings of Thy Gospel, dearly to love and serve Thee. And graciously accept these praise offerings of a poor unworthy sinner, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Thee will I love, my Strength, my Tower; Thee will I love, my Hope, my Joy.
Thee will I love with all my power, with ardor time shall ne’er destroy.
Thee will I love, O Light divine, so long as life is mine!
Hymn 399, 1