Today I want to continue to list answers to yesterday's question: Why is it reasonable to serve God sacrificially? It is reasonable because such service is God's will for us, and his is a good, pleasing, and perfect will. Christians often get greatly hung up on the idea of discovering "what God's specific will is" for their lives. In my judgment, there clearly are specific plans for our lives that God has determined in advance, because he has predetermined all things. The difficulty is that he has not revealed these to us. But although these specific details are not made known, general but very important things are, and the most important of these general things is that God wants us to be like Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I mentioned the night the angel came and wrestled with Jacob to bring him to the point of personal submission. But let's not wait for the angel to wrestle with us. Let's deal with this matter of sacrificial service to God now. Why is such demanding service so reasonable?

To understand this verse well, we must understand the kind of service that is required. We have already spent a good bit of time exploring what this kind of service is about. It concerns what Paul calls "sacrifice." When we were looking at it in detail earlier, we saw that it involves three things.

Today we come to the last phrase of Romans 12:1, "which is your spiritual worship," and I want to begin by saying something that I know will be disturbing to some people. The Greek words of this phrase are ambiguous. That is, they can be translated more than one way.

In Spain there is a very old proverb which says, “All laws go the way that kings desire.” Behind that proverb is an interesting story. About the beginning of the twelfth century there was a debate about whether the country's churches were to use Gothic or Roman prayer books in their services. The question eventually came before Alfonso VI, who was king at the time. Alfonso decided to leave the matter to chance, so he threw a copy of both prayer books into a fire declaring that the one that survived the ordeal should be chosen. However, when the Gothic missal survived the blaze, the king immediately threw it back into the fire and chose the Roman liturgies. Thus was the matter decided, and the proverb became popular throughout the country.