Giving of Ourselves

Today I want to walk us through a few verses of scripture from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. In these verses I hope you will discover some of the wonder and awe which God deserves, and I hope you’ll also be inspired to be more available to God for His use and purposes.

We’ll begin near the end of Romans 11 and continue into the first verse of Romans 12.

Paul writes,

Romans 11:33-36, 12:1

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 12:1

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

The passage of scripture we just read at the end of chapter 11 is generally referred to as a doxology. We normally associate the term doxology with some song or reading which occurs at the end of a worship service. For instance, we often sing this doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

The natural inference we may make, then, is that a doxology is the “closing” or “ending” of a worship time. But a doxology is actually an expression of praise to God which can occur at any time. So Paul includes a poem of praise in the middle of his letter to the Romans.

Paul’s doxology focuses on the character and nature of God. Remember what we learned a few weeks ago? When we give thanks we acknowledge what God has done. When we offer praise we focus upon who God IS. This is what Paul does.

Listen to the wonder in Paul’s words.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!”

We, too, should be in awe of the knowledge and wisdom of God. After all, there is no knowledge which exceeds what God knows and there is no wisdom which surpasses His. God is always right in His knowledge and His actions. And God always knows our paths and whereabouts, but we can never be completely aware of all the ways in which God is working in the world around us.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?”

One of our favorite things to do when we pray is to give God direction. We try to inform God of our circumstances and, often, what He should do to intervene on our behalf. It’s as though we believe we have knowledge and wisdom which is unavailable to God.

But as Paul points out, we are totally inept when it comes to knowing the thoughts and ways of God and we are grossly inadequate as His advisors. Even Jesus prayed, after expressing His heart to God on the eve of His crucifixion, “…if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

Then Paul reminds us that we receive far more from God than we ever offer to Him.

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”

God is never and will never be indebted to us. The best and most we can ever offer God will never rise to the measure of all that God gives to us every day. So bragging to God about what we have done is foolish and pointless. Our list will always be a scrap compared with what God does for us.

How wonderful and humbling at the same time.

Paul concludes his poem of praise with an observation and an exaltation:

Everything comes from God!  All glory belongs to God!

Paul then turns his focus to what should be our proper posture in the presence of God.

“Therefore,” he declares, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.”

In the presence of God — which we always are — we are first and foremost worshipers. And Paul suggests that the pinnacle of human worship is that we offer ourselves to God as servants.

Paul encourages to sacrifice ourselves to God, not in death, but in life; becoming living offerings for the glory and honor of God. In essence, Paul tells the Romans what he will tell the Corinthian believers later in the New Testament; die to yourself so that you may come alive in God.

God, through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins, has reclaimed us from the curse of death. He has made us new in Christ Jesus. And we have been made new, not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of those around us. We are to be salt and light; salt which seasons, preserves and tempers a corrupt and dying generation, and light which shows those around us a better way. 

 

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