Romans 12:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 12:1, NIV: "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."

Romans 12:1, ESV: "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."

Romans 12:1, KJV: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Romans 12:1, NASB: "Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."

Romans 12:1, NLT: "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him."

Romans 12:1, CSB: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship."

What does Romans 12:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A new section of Paul's letter begins with Romans 12. He has concluded the section dealing with the doctrine of salvation and what it means to come to God through faith in Christ. Now he begins to describe how those of us who are in Christ should live. How should we respond to God's great mercy to us?

Paul launches into an appeal to his spiritual siblings: his brothers and sisters in Christ. Though he is the apostle sent by Jesus Himself to take the gospel to the world, Paul is also "one of us." He is a sinful human being saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus. He calls God Father, as we do, making him our brother.

Paul urges us to recognize that God has shown us enormous mercy, described in detail earlier in this letter. The hymn in the previous four verses made it clear that God owes us nothing. Instead of death, though, He has given us life and purpose in Christ. He has forgiven our sins and shared with us the riches of His glory. We deserved none of that. How should we respond?

Paul writes that as the Jewish people offered killed animals as sacrifices to God, Christian should instead offer ourselves, our bodies, to Him as living sacrifices. In other words, the only rational response to God's mercy in giving us eternal life is to give Him our lives as a sacrifice to use for His purposes right now.

Animal sacrifices under the old covenant sacrificial system had to be set apart from the herd for that purpose and chosen with care to make sure they were acceptable—unmarked and unharmed. As living sacrifices, God has already set us apart for His purposes and declared us acceptable because He see us in our position in Christ. In other words, we do not have to wait to be better people before we offer our bodies and lives to God. As people in Christ, He will receive the sacrifice of our everyday lives right now.

This life of worship, then, is the appropriate response to the mercy God has already given to us.