Good morning Saints.
I trust that you had a fruitful week the storms of this season notwithstanding. This Sunday, we are attempting to make sense of the fact, that when the Lord calls us into a relationship, He desires that we align our lives to His will, a process that requires a radical mind shift, a total submission to the authority of His Word, and making fresh choices as guided by the Holy Spirit. To this end, Apostle Paul once wrote: “…Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
After climbing an enormous theological hill, Paul shifts gears in Roman 12. The first eleven chapters provide a basis for our belief, but from chapter 12 to the end of the book, the Apostle supplies a basis for our behavior. First doctrine; then duty. He pleads with his friends, based on God’s mercy, to lovingly surrender themselves to the Lord. He urges them to respond in four ways: 1) Presentation: We are to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices (v.1), 2) Separation: We are to avoid conform ing to the world’s ways (v.2), 3) Transformation: We are to renew our minds and thus change our lives (v.2), 4) Demonstration: We are to prove we belong to God
by doing his will (v.2). Paul argues that these four acts provide the logical response to God’s grace.
Aligning our lives to God’s will is actually a call to holy living. But how do we become holy? Some read these verses and imagine that offering our bodies as living sacrifices is what makes us pleasing to God. But Paul has already made it clear that God has made us holy and pleasing to Himself through Christ, not through our works (Rom 5:1; 9:12; 11:6). This is the fundamental truth that keeps us from being conformed to the world – the gospel. So powerful is God’s provision for us in Christ, so powerful is the life that is lived by faith alone (Romans 1:17; 3:28; 4:5) that Paul says if our minds grasp this new thought, then our lives will be transformed.
Your faith – energized life will be an acceptable sacrifice – but not because you are inherently pleasing to Him. God accepts you on account of Christ and Christ alone, because only His sacrifice provides true cleansing from sin.
Matthew 6:9-13, is what is often called the Lord’s Prayer, because Jesus gave it to the disciples, and it can be the pattern for our prayers. We should praise God, pray for his work in the world, pray for our daily needs, and pray for help in our daily struggles. When we pray, “Your will be done,” we are not resigning ourselves to fate, but praying that God’s perfect purpose will be accomplished in this world as well as in the next; and that as vessels he has transformed, we will be used of Him to fulfill His purposes. Every blessing!
The Very Rev. Canon Michael Mukhwana