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The One Urge To Give In To

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)

Although these verses are probably among the top five finalists for New Testament Scriptures remembered word-for-word by nearly every Christian in every historical age to the present, it is an interesting testimony to human behavior and its associated attention span that there is a very important, albeit tiny and critical word which is often passed over which places these verses into the proper context. Unlike many other things conveyed by Jesus, Paul and the other New Testament writers, the word which is not found here is “command”, but rather “urge”. The topic under discussion falls into the category of what is referred to in God’s Word as a “precept”, a responsibility incumbent on someone after they have come into a personal relationship with God. Whereas a “commandment” in its strictest definition is a requirement automatically enforceable when a covenant relationship with God is initiated, this belongs to a higher standard for those now properly engaged in a life in Christ. The very nature of a sacrifice means that it cannot be summarily commanded but must be voluntarily offered in accordance with one’s free will. I submit that Romans 12 holds the answer to why there are so many nominal Christians within the walls of the Church proper, and why repeated studies show that 15% of a typical congregation bears upon its shoulders nearly 100% of the ministry work; it is the difference between those who, after coming to Christ, make this kind of commitment and sacrifice versus those who do not.


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