On the Attributes of Acceptable Worship
Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…



1. Advert to the reasonableness of the service. It has been thought by some that the apostle, in this phraseology, has an allusion to the irrational animals which were offered in the service of God under the Levitical law; but that His service is much more simple, and the reasons of duty much more obvious to the understanding of the worshipper under the present than they were under the former economy. This is certainly true in point of fact. But recollect that, however various the sacrifices, and however complex the service of God during the preceding dispensations, yet His worship, in itself considered, ever has been, and ever will be, "a reasonable service." We lie under peculiar obligations, however, to bless the Lord, that the bondage and comparative darkness of the preceding economy is past, and the true light now shineth. The natural imbecility of reason in a fallen creature has been much overlooked; and her appropriate province in revealed religion much misunderstood by many of the disputers of this age. Christians also have much erred on the same subject. Instead of her having been used as an humble, submissive handmaid, to sit at the Saviour's feet, and implicitly receive the authoritative dictates of heaven from His lips, she has frequently been tricked out in the fantastic drapery of infallibility, and that also, sometimes, in the very temple of God, above all that is called God, or worshipped. Now recollect it is one leading design of the revelation of mercy to humble her haughty looks, and to level all her lofty pretensions in the dust, and to draw her deluded votary to the feet of the Saviour, as an eternal debtor to free mercy, for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and complete redemption (1 Corinthians 1:4, 5, 30, 31). Glad should we be if sinners were but prompted to reason justly upon their immortal interests and on the unqualified claims which the great salvation has upon the human heart. But it is not enough that our reasoning powers first of all yield unreservedly to God's appointed plan of redemption for pardon and peace, everlasting consolation and good hope through grace; they are brought into the school of Christ to be tutored for eternity, and to acquire the elements of implicit submission to the whole council of God. This is not so much the duty of a day as a labour for life. But, reason thus tamed, and thus taught — thus guided, and thus governed — by the principles of pure and undefiled religion is the decided enemy to all error — the sworn foe to all corruption — a powerful advocate of the honours of truth and righteousness — and a firm friend to the doctrine of the Cross, and all the social ordinances and commandments of Christ. Allow me further to observe that a well-principled mind will not dare to reason against any part of the revealed will of God. A Christian, living under the vivid impressions of the fear of God, will consider that every part of the truth as it is in Jesus demands and deserves personal obedience, for its own and its Author's sake; and he will give to each of its parts that degree of attention which its relative importance in the economy of redemption properly claims.

2. We shall now briefly notice our last, though not least powerful argument, used to enforce the duty in the text: "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God." There is no law in the universe more powerful than that of love. What heart can possibly withstand the tender mercy of the Most High! It is firm as the mountains — free as the air-boundless as the ocean — durable as the pillars of heaven — and efficacious in its operations, as the sun shining in the greatness of his strength.


1. The absolute necessity of a renewed mind in order to any person serving God with acceptance.

2. The importance of Christians being deeply embued with the spirit of devotion in order to their personal comfort and public usefulness.

3. A Christian Church ought to give a fair representation of the spirit of devotion — the institutions of the kingdom of Christ — the principles of benevolence — and the standard of morals in the place where they live.

(N. Macneil.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

Living Sacrifices
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