Living Sacrifice

Friday: Pleasing to God

Romans 12:1 In this week’s study we learn that since we are newly created in Christ and have been brought out from the bondage of sin, we can now live holy lives.
Pleasing to God

The final word Paul uses to describe how we should present our bodies to God as living sacrifices is “pleasing.” But this is also a conclusion for what I have been saying this week since the point is that if we do what Paul has urged us to do, namely, to offer our “bodies as living sacrifices, holy…to God,” then we will also find that what we have done is pleasing (or acceptable) to Him. 

That is an amazing thing to me, that God could find anything we might be able to do to be pleasing. But it is true! I notice that the word “pleasing” occurs twice in this short paragraph. The first time, which is what we are looking at here, it indicates that our offering of ourselves to God pleases God. The second time, which occurs at the end of verse 2, it indicates that when we do this we will find God’s will for our lives to be pleasing as well as good and perfect. That God’s will for me should be pleasing, pleasing to me— that I understand. How could it be otherwise if God is an all-wise and all-good God? He must will what is good for me. But that my offering of myself to Him should somehow also please Him when I know myself to be sinful and ignorant and half-hearted even in my best efforts—that is astonishing. 

But so it is! The Bible tells me that at my best I am to think of myself as an “unworthy” servant (Luke 17:10). But it also says that if I live for Jesus, offering back to Him what He has first given to me, then one day I will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!… Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21, 23). 

Living for Christ may be hard. It always will be in this sinful, God-defying world. I may not understand what good it does either for me or for other people. But that commendation, the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be enough for me. It will make it worthwhile.

Study Questions
  1. In what two ways is the word “pleasing” used?
  2. Why is the first use of the word “pleasing” said to be astonishing?

Reflection: It certainly is amazing that offering ourselves to God is a sacrifice which He finds holy and pleasing! This truth needs to be grasped and understood in order to live the life God calls us to live. Do you look to God’s pleasure as your primary motivation in living a godly life?

Prayer: As you pray today, talk to God about what pleases Him. Ask Him to make His pleasure become your foremost goal. Seek your own satisfaction in knowing that God is pleased with the worship and service of His own new creations in Christ.

Application: How will you offer yourself to this loving God? Think of at least one specific way you can offer yourself to Him, for His pleasure, today.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Donald Barnhouse’s messages on “God’s Method for Holy Living.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

For Further Study: Our need to be holy is fundamental to the Christian life, and these opening verses of Romans 12 have much to teach us about how to think and live in a manner that is pleasing to God. Order your copy of James Boice’s book, Renewing Your Mind in a Mindless World, and receive 20% off the regular price.

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