Romans 12:1-2. 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. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1 is meant to sound priestly. Sacrifices. Holy and acceptable. Worship. These are all the words of the Jewish worship at the Temple. Worship that, as Christians in Rome, they no longer participate in. But in Christ does all our worship cease? Of course not. In fact, worship is the whole point of our union with Christ. We were created for worship, and Christ in us allows us to worship with our whole lives – body, soul, and spirit.
Spiritual worship is literally “logical worship.” Logikos in Greek. Some English versions say “reasonable service.”
The old way of worshipping, by offering animal sacrifices at the Temple is no longer reasonable or rational. It isn’t logical anymore. Why? Because Jesus has died once for all for our sins. Sacrifice used to be an atoning, religious, temporary, and physical ceremony. But not anymore!
Our spiritual worship no longer atones for our sins. Our sins have been washed away forever by the blood of Jesus Christ. We have died to sin and its power. We worship from a finished work. From faith and gratitude. No blood need be shed. We are fully holy and acceptable, living sacrifices.
In the old worship, the old religion if you will, everything was a shadow of what was to come in Christ. Man-made religion used ceremonies, symbols, rituals, liturgies, and special days to please God. Now, in Christ, by simply living we worship. Much like in the Garden of Eden, relating to God face to face in the breezes of the day.
Our spiritual worship, our living sacrifice, no longer yields a temporary result. Our worship is not limited in time or scope. It is not something we do for a couple hours on Sunday morning. Our spiritual worship is as eternal as our life.
Dr. Ryan Stone fights to live. For her, choosing to stay alive IS the sacrifice.
Our worship is spiritual. When Jesus talked to the “woman at the well” he told her not to worry about where we would worship God because the how was far more important. We must worship in Spirit and in truth, he said. That is what union with Christ has made possible. True spiritual worship. By the Holy Spirit, our worship is now true to our new nature and true to God’s nature. It is holy and acceptable.
And it is authentic. How so? Because it is worship that comes from the simplicity of just living. If your worship is only on Sunday morning then I can imagine that it is pretty fake. But when your whole life is worship…now it can be real like never before. If Christ’s indwelling life can bring the freedom of authenticity to your life (and it has), then your worship will also be authentic.
There is a great paradox here that we must point out – our spiritual worship is done by presenting our physical bodies. True spiritual worship of God will always flow from the inside out. It will affect us from spirit to soul to body. The whole life. It will affect all that we do.
Worship is done by living. There is no separation of real life and real worship. Your job is your spiritual worship. Your play is your spiritual worship. Your family time is your spiritual worship. Your team is your spiritual worship. Your classroom is your spiritual worship. When you live and love like Jesus through the course of a day, you are worshipping.
“To live is Christ” is to live a life of spiritual worship. And you’re in the middle of it right now. So keep living. And keep worshipping as you live in Christ and present your body to him so he can live through you.