Present to God’s Grace

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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In Romans, chapters 1–11, Paul declares that God's grace is the most absolute fact in all creation. In these chapters of profound theological reasoning, he forcefully concludes that God's grace alone redeems, sustains, and heals humanity—broken, alienated, and destructive as a result of sin. He finishes this section with a joyful exultation of God's glory:

How great are God's riches! How deep are his wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain his decisions? Who can understand his ways? As the scripture says, "Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give him advice? Who has ever given him anything so that he had to pay it back?" For all things were created by him, and all things exist through him and for him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)

Then, in Romans 12:1, Paul injects the Greek word translated "therefore." Whenever Paul uses "therefore," pay attention. It usually indicates that he will now present the implications of everything written up to that point. Most often the implications are specific injunctions on how to live in light of the truth just presented. The New English Bible translates Romans 12:1: "Therefore, my brothers, I implore you by God's mercy to offer your very selves to him; a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for His acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart."

Eugene Peterson paraphrases Romans 12:1–2 this way: "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing that you can do for Him. Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out."

The impact of this major injunction is Paul's use of the word "present" (parst-emi)—he calls us to present ourselves in concrete ways in daily life. In light of God's amazing grace, he implores us to be living sacrifices in all arenas of daily living. We are not enjoined to die for Jesus, but to live for Him in the everydayness of our everyday lives. Through such living, God not only bears witness to His saving grace in His world, but we are changed from the inside out.