In Louisiana, people told stories of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux the way some people would tell stories of “Jim Bob and Bubba.”
One day, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux were out on the bayou fishing. But they were fishing the old-fashioned “Cajun way”—with sticks of dynamite. About the time Boudreaux was getting ready to light his third stick of dynamite, the Game Warden pulled up and shouted, “Mais Boudreaux, how many times I gotta told ya, it’s against da law to fish wit dynamite!”
Boudreaux continued lighting the fuse and calmly handed the lit dynamite to the Game Warden, saying, “Mais Mr. Game Warden, whatcha gonna do? Talk all day, or fish?”
Sometimes we’re handed a decision that is obvious. In this case, the Game Warden’s choice was obvious: he’s going to throw that dynamite as far away from the boat as he can.
We have encountered God’s grace and mercy that He extended us through the Gospel, and we have a choice about how we’re going to respond to it. This week and next week, we’re going to see that the first part of our response is to give ourselves completely to God.
1 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, CSB)
Give Yourself Completely to God
Romans 12 starts by teaching about what God has done for His people and moves quickly into what He expects from His people in response to what He has done. Paul begins by telling us that our response is something we do with everything we are.
To “present” in the language of the New Testament means “to offer up something for a specific purpose.” In this case, we are to offer up our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.
The motivation for such a drastic response is given at the very beginning of the chapter: “in view of the mercies of God.” Because of God’s dramatic show of mercy and grace, our response must be with everything we are.
When Paul says this simple phrase—“in view of the mercies of God”—he calls us to consider the Gospel he has laid out in the letter up to this point:
- Chapters 1-3: Sin
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
- Chapters 4-5: Salvation
“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)
- Chapters 6-8: Sanctification
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)
- Chapters 9-11: Sovereignty
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord?Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God,that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)
The Gospel is the most beautiful story of all time. It tells of how God loved us even when we didn’t deserve it, how He made us alive with Christ, and how He’s reigning still today. Once we see this, our response is obvious: it requires our whole being.
We are to present ourselves as:
- Living Sacrifices
Dead to sin and alive to God
Set apart for His use, and His use alone
Acceptable to God, pure of heart and mind, and focused on Him and His will.
Next week, we will continue looking at this verse to see that Paul doesn’t only want the church at Rome to be consecrated, or set apart, for God; we should also be transformed, made into something completely different by the amazing gift of God’s grace.