Our Reasonable Service

John A. Keith

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)

From the time of Moses, the children of God had offered dead-animal sacrifices to God to temporarily atone for their sins (Exo. 29:14). This was the way God told them to deal with sin for the time being, and, since this was the way God had told them, it was only reasonable that they do it, and that they do it His way. This was never intended by God to be a permanent solution, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (Heb. 10:4). The old system of sacrifice, and the law (of Moses) that accompanied it was only intended to be in force until Christ should come to earth (Gal. 3:19). He, then, made a once for all offering (Heb. 10:10) and, in so doing, became our high priest (Heb. 2:17) and, thus, our lawgiver. The change in the law and the change in the high priest necessitated a change of the sacrifice that man offers to God. Christ offered the blood sacrifice to God, but that does not mean that His children offer nothing further to Him, as our text clearly points out.

No longer does God require of you and me a dead-animal sacrifice. Rather, we are to be a “living sacrifice.” This is the way God has told us to deal with sin, and, since this is the way God has told us to do it, it is only reasonable that we do it, and do it His way. (Sound familiar ?) Our “reasonable service,” or “logical duty” in the context of spiritual matters, then, is to do those things God has commanded us that we might have pardon for our sins and the hope of eternal life.

Just as the priests of old had to enter the physical temple of God to offer the sacrifices required of them, we must enter the spiritual temple, the church, today (The church is not a building, but the body of baptized believers). Anything we attempt to offer to God while outside the church is vain and empty because we are not following God’s instructions. By our confidence in the person and work of Jesus Christ (faith – Heb. 11:6), by turning away from a sinful life style (repentance – Acts 17:30), by verbally and bodily living for Christ (confession – Rom. 10:9,10), and by being immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins (baptism – Mk. 16:16), we enter the spiritual temple, the church (Eph. 1:22, 23; 1 Cor. 3:17). Then, we are ready to offer our continued “reasonable service” to Jehovah God.

Our reasonable service is to present our bodies to God in a holy and acceptable fashion: holy in that we have set our sights on doing His will. We must place our lives at God’s disposal, for that is the only way for us to be well-pleasing (acceptable) to Him. It is up to us to cultivate in our lives the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23), to add to our faith the Christian graces of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (love). James said, Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Jas. 1:27)

We are living in His creation as one of His created beings (Gen. 1, 2). Does it not make sense – is it not reasonable – to do things His way? –70 Gale Ave, Newport, OH 45768. (740)473-2528 jtakeith@att.net

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