In the book of Romans, Paul works through a progression of truths—from our sinful condition, which deserves God’s wrath, to the display of His mercy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Chapter 11 ends in a crescendo of praise that should cause us to respond in worship by offering ourselves to God as living sacrifices.
But practically speaking, how are we to do this? In Romans 12:2, the apostle spells out a mindset to avoid and a goal to pursue.
Do not be conformed to this world. This is not a command to withdraw to the hills and live off the grid. Rather, we’re to lay aside our former manner of life because it is corrupted by our sinful desires (Eph. 4:22). Paul calls this “the old self,” and it’s what John referred to as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Until we deal with these things, we’ll find ourselves continually crawling off the altar to follow our own desires.
Be transformed by the renewing our minds. Lasting change isn’t brought about by willpower or emotional mountaintop experiences. For change that endures, we must renew our mind with God’s truths as revealed in His Word. Paul describes this renewal as “put[ting] on the new self,” which is created by God in righteousness, holiness, and truth (Eph. 4:23-24).
To be a living sacrifice requires submission in obedience to God’s will. As long as we’re in our earthly body, there will always be a battle with sin and self. But by letting God’s Word renew our mind, we’ll find ourselves praising Him as we use our life in accordance with His will.
Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24