1 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.
“Therefore” is a transition word. The “therefore” indicates a deduction from the doctrinal section of Romans (chapters 1 to 11). This verse is a great dividing point in the book, a fork in the road. To this point God has done things for us, now we do things for Him. “Therefore” is a hinge to the book and points back to the doctrinal section of Romans and forward to the practical.
Paul was about to give the practical outworking of the belief system he had built to this point. Chapters 12 to 15 form a necessary effect to chapters 1 to 11. It is a natural conclusion to respond to God’s provisions in grace for us.
There is consequence to believing certain things. The practical of the New Testament is never divorced from the doctrinal. If God did not provide in grace for us, then there would be no compelling reason to serve Him. Biblical ethics always arise out of truth and the principles of God’s Word. That is why chapters 1 to 11 precede chapters 12 to 16.
The sequence of Romans is first doctrine then duty; first revelation then responsibility; first principle then practice; first prerogative then precepts. God never introduced doctrine simply to be known.
Paul’s appeal was to his “brothers” in the family of God, not to his servants.
Christian ethics do not stand alone but upon what God provides in grace.
Christian ethics emerge from doctrine. Doctrine does not stand alone in barren, unadulterated intellectualism apart from practice. The sequence is doctrine then practice, but both merge in dynamic interrelationship.
Doctrine requires understanding. Unless we think through what we believe, we cannot live out what we ponder. We live in a generation that does not think. We want to experience Christianity without grasping what it means. Mindless Christianity results in vacuous living.
Christians today live impoverished spiritual lives just like the unbeliever. There is very little difference today between the Christian and non-Christian. No wonder there is very little appeal among non-believers to become Christians. Christians today live in the mold of the non-Christian. That is why God says in the next verse “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…” The only way to be transformed is to think God’s thoughts after Him in the Word of God.
Jn 13:17, If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Eph 4:1, I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,