In Romans 12:1 Paul writes “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
First let us establish that true Christian worship, as Ernst Kasemann once noted, “does not consist of what is practiced at sacred sites, at sacred times, and with sacred acts…It is the offering of bodily existence”. True Christian worship consists of offering the whole of self, the mind and heart, so that God would be glorified. This was made possible at the cross, where Christ offered himself as a sacrifice once and for all, thus opening up the way of true fellowship between God and man. The possibility of such a relationship was, before the work of Christ, cut off at the fall.
The Greek translated ‘spiritual worship’ can also be rendered ‘reasonable service’. This ‘intelligent worship’ is reasonable given the mercies of God shown in salvation for all who believe. Thomas Schreiner notes that, the call to worship recalls a theme already introduced in Paul’s letter to the Romans, 1:25. From this observation we can conclude that the fundamental sin of man is ‘failure to worship’ the one true God. Therefore, those who seek to truly worship God live there entire lives so that he is honored and praised.
Moreover, this word translated ‘worship’ has a rich background in Greek and Hellenistic Jewish philosophy, possibly referring to the fact that God created human beings as having logos (reason). This ‘reason’ is one of the things we, as humans, have in common with God. Emphasizing ‘truly appropriate worship’, which involves;
1. The Mind: Seeing and Understanding how God has made Himself known in redemptive history (Through the Bible).
2. The Heart: Loving and Treasuring God for the sacrificing of himself (Christ) in your place, and opening the eyes of the redeemed to see the beauty of redemption (Spirit).
This is the Gospel, and the foundation of true worship.
For more on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, click here.
One thought on “A Thought on True Worship (Part 1): Romans 12:1”
For me, Romans 12:1 has come to mean; give my body to the Holy Spirit, for His earthly dwelling. And the concept of God within me is mind numbing. Yet I really appreciate how you have made it clear that this is an ultimate form of worship. I like to call it surrender; I have come to love what that word means to me.