Minster's Corner: Renewed Minds
Whenever Paul uses the word “therefore” in his letters, he is making a transition. Prior to this passage, he has spent several chapters laying the groundwork for what he is about to say. He has bemoaned the fact that his people, the Jews, have not accepted Jesus as the Christ—the Messiah. He has been adamant, though, in insisting that the covenant will not be broken, that the Jewish people will eventually accept Jesus and be grafted back into the tree of God’s salvation. Meanwhile, those Gentiles who have become Christians should not feel vain and proud. God has allowed them to become part of the “family,” to be grafted into God’s tree. But they can just as easily be removed. It is up to each Christian, Gentile or Jew, to keep the faith—to grow in faith.
Then comes the transition. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (or “reasonable service”).” God does not expect us to offer dead animals as sacrifices, but to give our living selves in worship and service.
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