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.”

“I beseech you
Literally:  “I beg you, please.”--I call upon you.  After having finished with his argument in the previous chapters of this epistle, Paul now proceeds to close it with a practical application, showing its bearing on the duties of life and practical influence of their faith.

                        I BESEECH:  (Grk.–parakalô)-Literally:  “I call on.”

This address is probably intended for both groups of believers:  the Jewish and the Gentile believers; though some suppose that the Jewish  believers are addressed in the first verse, and the Gentile believers in the second.  None of the doctrines of the Gospel are meant to be merely cold and barren speculations. They are meant tp bear on the hearts and lives of men; and Paul therefore calls on those to whom he wrote to dedicate themselves without reserve unto God.  In view of all that has been advanced in the foregoing part of this Epistle.

            “therefore”– As the effect or result of the argument or doctrine.

                        THEREFORE:  (Grk.–oun)–This participle gathers up all the great argument of Chapters 9-11.

The whole argument of the eleven first chapters is fitted to show the obligation on us to devote ourselves to God.  From expressions like these, it is clear that Paul never supposed that the tendency of the doctrines of grace was to lead to licentiousness.  Many have argued that such was the tendency of the Doctrines of Justification by Faith, of Election and decrees, and of the preservation of the saints.  But it is plain that Paul had no such apprehensions. After having fully stated and established those doctrines, he concludes that we ought therefore to lead holy lives; and on the ground of them he exhorts men to do it.

“by the mercies of God”
Literally:  “Through the compassions of God.” Those mercies which He bestows in and through Christ Jesus, as Paul has exhibited in the former part of this epistle. Those mercies, as shown in Paul’s argument and in our own lives; those mercies, whose free and unmerited nature, and saving fruits have been opened up at such length.

            BY: (Grk.–dia)—Literally: “through.” This preposition of intermediate agency here denotes the reason why they should do it, or the ground of appeal.  So great had been the mercy of God, that this constituted a reason why they should present their bodies, etc., (see 15:30 I Cor. 1:10).

            MERCIES: (Grk.–oiktirmôn)– Literally:  “compassions.”  This refers to favor shown to the undeserving kindness, compassion, etc.  The plural is used in imitation of the Hebrew word for mercy, which has no   singular. The word is not often used in the N.T.  (See II Cor. 1:3, where God is called “the Father of mercies.”)

             The particular mercy that Paul refers to here is that shown to those whom he was addressing.  He had proved that all were by nature under sin; that they had no claim on God; and that He had showed great compassion in giving His Son to die for them in this state, and in pardoning their sins. This was a ground or reason why they should devote themselves

            By the tender mercies or compassions of God, such as a tender Father shows to His stubborn or headstrong children.  Let us call to mind these “mercies of which Paul speaks:

1.      JUSTIFICATION:  Including pardon; removal of sins from us, trespasses never to be reckoned or dealt with;  a standing in Christbeing made the righteousness of God in Him.
2.      IDENTIFICATION:  Taken out of Adam’s death with Christ;  dead to sin and to law, now IN CHRIST.
3.      UNDER GRACE, NOT LAW:  Fruit unto God; unto sanctification, made possible.
4.      THE INDWELLING SPIRIT:  “No condemnation;” freedom from the Law of Sin; witness of Sonship and Heirship.
5.      HELP IN INFIRMITY:  And in any present sufferings, on our way to share Christ’s glory.
6.      COMING GLORY:  Beyond any comparison with present sufferings!
7.      NO SEPARATION POSSIBLE:  God loves us in Christ.

            “that ye present your bodies”
            Literally:  “To present your bodies.”  A metaphor taken from bringing sacrifices to the
altar of God.

The person doing the offering picked out the choicest of his flock, brought it to the altar, and presented it there as an atonement for his sin.  They are exhorted to give themselves up in the spirit of sacrifice; to be as wholly the Lord's property as the whole burnt-offering was, no part being devoted to any other use.

   “What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost {which is} in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.
   “For ye are bought with a price:  therefor glorify God om your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s
(I Cor .6:19-20).

Those mercies which God bestows in and through Christ Jesus, as Paul has exhibited in the former part of this epistle.  For he now proceeds to draw from the deep doctrines.  Present your living bodies; as the priest presented to God the bodies of the slain victims.

              PRESENT: (Grk.–parastêsai)–This literally means, “to place beside or nearby, to present, to offer, to put at one’s disposal.”–It commonly denotes the action of bringing and presenting an animal or other sacrifice before an altar. It implies that the action was a  free and voluntary offering. 

                        YOUR BODIES: (Grk.–sômata humôn)—The bodies of animals were offered in sacrifice.

Paul specifies their bodies particularly in reference to that fact. Still the entire animal was devoted; and Paul evidently meant here the same as to say, present YOURSELVES, your entire person, to the service of God.  It was not customary or proper to speak of a sacrifice as an offering of a soul or spirit in the common language of the Jew,; so Paul applied that which Christians were to make of themselves to Godsacrifices. Sanctification extends to the whole man (I Thess. 5:23-24).

“A living sacrifice”–Living, in contrast with the SLAIN sacrifices of the Mosaic Law.   In opposition to those dead sacrifices which they were in the habit of offering while in their Jewish state; and that they should have the lusts of the flesh MORTIFIED that they might live to God.

          A sacrifice is an offering made to God as an ATONEMENT for sin; or any offering made to Him and His service as an expression of thanksgiving or homage.  It implies that he who offers it presents it entirely, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honor of God.   To present the body to God as a living sacrifice, is to consecrate it, with the living soul that inhibits it, to God's service. (I Cor. 6:15-20). 

            In the case of an animal, it was SLAIN, and the BLOOD offered; in the case of any other offering, as the firstfruits, etc., it was set apart to the service of God; and he who offered it released all claim on it, and submitted it to God, to be disposed of at His will. This is the offering which Paul entreats the Romans to make; to devote themselves to God, as if they had no longer any claim on themselves; to be disposed of by Him; to suffer and bear all that He might appoint; and to promote His honor in any way which He might command. This is the nature of true faith. 

                        LIVING:  (Grk.–zōsan)–The expression probably means, that they were to devote the vigorous, active powers of their bodies and souls to the service of God.

           The Jew offered his victim, SLEW  it, and presented it dead. It could not be presented again. In  opposition to this, we are to present ourselves with all our living, vital energies to God daily. Christianity does not require a service of death or inactivity. It demands vigorous and active powers in the service of God the Savior. There is something very affecting in the view of such a sacrifice; in regarding life, with all its energies, its intellectual, and moral, and physical powers, as one long sacrifice–one continued offering unto God. An immortal being presented to him; presented voluntarily, with all his energies, from day to day, until life shall close, so that it may be said that he has lived and DIED an offering made freely unto God.
            In contrast to the legal sacrifices, which, save as they were SLAIN, were no sacrifices at all. The DEATH of the one “Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world,” has swept all DEAD victims from off the altar of God, to make room for the redeemed themselves as “living sacrifices” to Him who made “Him to be sin for us;” while every outgoing of their grateful hearts in praise, and every act prompted by the love of Christ, is itself a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor (Heb. 13:15-16).

                        HOLY:   (Grk.–hagian)–This means without blemish or defect.

            NO other sacrifice could be made to God. The Jews were expressly forbid to offer that which was lame or blind, or in any way deformed, (Deut. 15:21; 17:1; Lev. 1:3; 3:1; 22:20). (Comp. Mal. 1:8).  If offered without any of these defects, it was regarded as holy, i.e., appropriately set apart, or consecrated to God.  
           In like manner we are to consecrate to God our best faculties; the rigor of our minds, and time and talents.  Not the feebleness of sickness merely; not old age alone; not the time which we cannot otherwise employ; but the first rigor and energies of the mind and body-our youth, our health, and our strength. Our sacrifice to God is to be not divided or separate; but it is to be entire and complete.
            Many are expecting to be Christians in  their sickness; many in old age; thus purposing to offer to Him the blind and the lame. The sacrifice is to be free from sin. It is not to be a divided, or broken, and polluted service. It is to be with the best affections of our hearts and lives.  Without spot or blemish; referring still to the sacrifice required by the Law.

“acceptable unto God”
Literally:  “Well-pleasing to God.”–They are exhorted to offer such a sacrifice as will be acceptable to God; that is, such an one as he had just specified, one that was living and holy.

No sacrifice should be made which is NOT acceptable to God The offerings of the Gentiles, the pilgrimages of Muslims; the self-inflicted penalties of the Roman Catholics, are NOT commanded by God,and cannot be acceptable to Him. Those services will be acceptable to God, and only those, are those which He appoints. (Comp. Col. 2:20-23). It matters little what men think of us, if God approves what we do. To please Him should be our highest aim; the fact that we do please Him is our highest reward.  

            ACCEPTABLE:  (Grk.–euareston)—literally: “well-pleasing.”   The sacrifice being perfect in its kind, and the intention of the making the offering being such that both can be   acceptable and well pleasing to God, Who searches the heart. 

To show that there must be a complete surrender of the person-the body, the whole man, mind and flesh, to be given to God; and that he is to consider himself no more his own, but the entire property of his Maker.

            UNTO GOD: (Grk.–tôi Theôi)–Not as the Levitical offerings, merely as appointed symbols of spiritual ideas, but objects of divine satisfaction, in their renewed character, and endeared relationship to Him through His Son Christ Jesus.

            “Which is your reasonable service” Reasonable service; a service of the spirit, in contrast          with a merely outward and bodily service. Compare ( I Pet. 2:5).

           REASONABLE:  (Grk.–logikên)— This word for “reasonable” denotes that which pertains to the mind, and a reasonable service means that which is mental, or pertaining to reason.

            It does not stand opposed to that which is foolish or unreasonable, but to the external service of the Jews, and such as they relied on for salvation. The worship of the Christian is that which pertains to the mind, or is spiritual; that of the Jew was external.

            “Reasonable, i.e, Rational”  service– In this view the presentation of ourselves, as living monuments of redeeming mercy, is here called “our rational service”; and surely it is the most rational and exalted occupation of God's reasonable creatures. So II Pet. 1:5, “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

            Nothing can be more consistent with reason than that the work of God  should glorify its AuthorWe are not our own, we are the property of the Lord, (I Cor. 6:20) by the right of creation and redemption; and it would be as unreasonable as it would be wicked not to live to His glory, in strict obedience to His will.  By an act of will we place our total personalities at the disposal of God This is our “reasonable service,”  our rational service, and it is well pleasing to God.

“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

“Be not conformed to this world”
Literally:  Be not fashioned  according to this age.”– The spirit of the world/age is opposed to that of Christ.  Satan is “the Prince of this world”  (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Christ died “to deliver us from this present wicked world” (Gal. 1:4).  Hence the service of Christ renders necessary a refusal to fashion ourselves after its ways.

           CONFORMED: (Grk.–suschêmatizesthe)—Stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned.  From the Greek verb suschêmatizô, meaning to conform to  another's pattern”  (I Cor. 7:31; Phil. 2:7).  Used in the N.T. only here and I Pet. 1:14.

This     refers to the act of an individual assuming an outward expression that does not come from within him, nor is it representative of his inner heart life.  Paul is exhorting the believers, “Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression that does not represent what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God.”  We might say, “Stop masquerading in the mannerism of this world; with its speech expressions, styles, etc.”

             TO THIS WORLD:  (Grk.–aini toutôi)–Literally: “to this age.”  This may be understood that present state of things both among the Jews and Gentiles; the customs and fashions of the people who then lived.

The Gentiles particularly, who had neither the power nor the form of godliness.  This peculiar state of things is specifically intended. And Paul is warning them against reviving usages that Christ had abolished.  This exhortation still continues in full force.  The world that now is–i.e., THIS present state of things, is as much opposed to the spirit of genuine  Christianity as the world was in Paul’s day.  Pride, luxury, vanity, extravagance in dress, and riotous living, prevail now as they did then, and are as unworthy of a Christian's pursuit as they are injurious to his soul, and hateful in the sight of God.

“but be ye transformed”
Literally: “But be transformed–Be metamorphosed, transfigured; appear as new persons, and with new habits, as God has given you a new form of worship, so that you serve in the newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.  The word implies a radical, thorough, and universal change, both outward and inward.

                        TRANSFORMED:  (Grk.–metamorphousthe)–Literally: “metamorphosed; or transfigured into the image of Christ.

The word from which the expression here is derived means form, habit, (Grk.–morphê).  The direction is, “put on another form, change the form of the world for that of Christianity.” This word would properly refer to the external appearance, but the expression which Paul immediately uses, “renewing of the mind,” shows that Paul did not intend to use it with reference to that only, but to the change of the whole man. The meaning is, do not cherish a spirit devoid to the world, following its vain fashions and pleasures, but cultivate a spirit attached to God, and His kingdom and cause.   

“by the renewing of your mind”–By making new way of thinking; the changing into new views and feelings.  This suggests that that conformity to this age embraces thinking patterns that are alien to the renewal of the mind.

            Instead of following the ways of the world’s system, the Christian must be “transformed,” changed into a new form of life; i.e., appear as a new person, and with new habits, as God has given you a new form of worship. Renewing of the mind implies a radical, thorough, and universal change, both outward and inward;  or, “transfigured” (as in Matt. 17:2; and II Cor. 3:18).

            The “renewing of the mind,” takes in the whole sphere of conscious life for the child of God. The Christian is often represented as a new creature, (II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24; I Pet. 2:2). Let the inward change produce the outward.  Where the spirit, the temper, and disposition of the mind, Eph. 4:23, are not renewed, an outward change is of but little worth, and of short standing. If you do claim to be saved (be a Christian) and there is no outward change in the way you live, then you have a good reason to examine you “salvation” experience–did you simply have a “profession” of faith or did you have a true “salvation” of faith experience.

            YOUR MIND: (Grk.–noos)–The word translated as “mind” denotes intellect, as distinguished from the will and affections.  But here it seems to be used as applicable to the whole spirit as distinguished from the body, including the understanding, will, and affections.

The whole mind must become the object of the Holy Spirit’s renewing power.  The entire soul-life must become the object of the Spirit’s renewing power.  The entire soul-life, in human existence must come under the Holy Spirit’s control It is as if Paul had said, “Don’t let this change pertain only to the body, but also  to the soul.”  Do not let it be merely an external conformity, but let Him have His seat in your spirit.  If the mind was not changed, all external changes would be useless.   It would simply be hypocrisy.  Christianity seeks to reign in the soul; and having its seat there, then the external conduct and habits will be regulated accordingly.

“that ye may prove”
Literally:  “For you to prove.”–That you may have practical proof and experimental knowledge of, the will of God; of His purpose and determination, which is good in itself.

           PROVE:  (Grk.–dokimazein)–This word commonly applied to metals; to the  operation of the smith in testing, or trying his metal by the severity of fire, etc. Hence it also   means to explore, investigate, ascertain. This is its meaning here. The sense is, that such a renewed mind is essential to a successful inquiry after the will of God.

          Know and discern the fact of your own experience. Paul has in view that discernment of God's will which comes from actual obedience. The Doctrines of the Gospel as initiated by the apostles, especially Justification by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ, are not only consistent with, but conducive to the more pure, elevated, and universal morality; and the intelligent, cordial belief of the one will, through the grace of God..
         A renewed heart is the best preparation for studying Christianity; the man who is chaste has most clearly and forcibly the arguments for chastity, etc. But a heart in love with the fashions and follies of the world is ill-fitted to appreciate the arguments for humility, prayer, etc. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God,” (John 7:17). The reason why the heart is renewed is, that we may do the will of God.  The heart that is renewed is best fitted to appreciate and understand His will.

           “that good”
         Literally:  “The good.” —This part of the verse might be rendered, “that you may investigate the will of God,” or “ascertain the will of God”–i.e., that which is good, and             perfect, and acceptable.

The will of God relates to His commands in regard to our conduct, His doctrines in regard to our belief; His providential dealings in relation to our external circumstances. It means what God demands of us, in whatever way it may be made known. They do not err from His ways who seek His guidance, but they who are not confiding in their own wisdom, but in God, commit their way to Him. “The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way,” (Psa. 25:9).

            GOOD:  (Grk.–agathon)–The word good here is not an adjective agreeing with “will,” but a  noun.   “That ye may find the will of God, that which is good and acceptable.”   It implies that that thing which is good is His will; or that we may find His will by finding that which is good and perfect. That is good which promotes the honor of God, and the interests of His universe.

“and perfect”–That is, finished and complete.   When the mind is renewed, and the whole life changed, then the will of God is perfectly fulfilled; for this is its grand purpose in reference to every human being.

Free from defect, stain, or injury. That which has all its parts complete, or which is not disproportionate.  Applied to our faith, it means that which is consistent, which is carried out; which is evidenced in all the circumstances and relations of life. 

“acceptable will of God”
Literally:  “Well pleasing will of God.” —Well pleasing to and well received by every mind that is renewed and transformed.  That which will be pleasing to God, or which He will approve.

There is scarcely a more difficult text in the Bible than this, or one that is more full of meaning. It involves the main duty of our faith and our lives to be separated from the world; and it expresses the way in which that duty may be performed, and in which we may live so as to determine and do the will of God. If all Christians would obey this, the Christian faith would be honored everywhere.   If all would separate from the vices and follies, the amusements and gaieties of the world, Christ would be glorified.  If all were truly renewed in their minds, they would lose their relish for such things; and seeking only to do the will of God, they would not be slow to find it.

          “Love not the world, neither the things {that are} in the world.  if any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.
         “For all that {is} int he world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.(I John 2:15-16).