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Romans 12:1-2 by Robert Dean
Series:Basics 2: Foundation for Living (2005)
Duration:47 mins 58 secs

Foundation for Living  Lesson 10     December 11, 2005


How shall a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed thereto according to Thy word; Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  Jesus prayed to the Father, sanctify them in truth; Thy word is truth. For the grass withers and the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever. 


Father, we do thank You that You have given us Your word, that Your word illuminates our thinking, reveals to us truth and gives us the framework for interpreting everything in life.  It is in the light of Your word that we see life.  Now Father, as we continue our study in the basic Foundations for Living, we pray that You would challenge us with Your word, in Christ's name.  Amen.


In the course of our study on these basic Foundations for Living, I have been looking at the responsibilities and duties of the priesthood for the last couple of weeks. 

We looked at prayer and the importance of prayer in the believer's life.  In  Acts 2:42 we talked about the fact that the early church devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship.  And fellowship was then broken down into a parenthetical clause. Fellowship was the breaking of bread and prayer.  Prayer was one of the things that the early church devoted themselves to in terms of fellowship with God, as well as the Lord's table.  But in the list of those things the early church was devoted to, the first thing was the apostles' teaching, the exposition, explanation, the instruction of the word of God; teaching the word of God.  Open your Bibles to Romans 12 :1. The believer priest not only responsible to pray before the Lord, to go directly before His throne of grace, but he is responsible to the word of God, to know the word of God, to understand the word of God and to place the word of God in a position of high priority.  We come to Romans 12:1 and read: 

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 


These initial two verses, in Romans 12 really form a structural shift in the book of Romans.  A very important shift takes place here.  In the first 11 chapters of Romans, the apostle Paul has been going through an intensely logical development of the basic doctrines related to the Christian life.  He started off talking about justification and the righteousness of God, which is the foundation for everything in the book of Romans.  But in Romans 12  he shifts gears from talking about the doctrinal foundation of the Christian life, the basic doctrines related to sin, justification by faith alone, sanctification, and God's justice in relation to His people Israel, which is covered in chapters 9-11,  to application. Chapters 12 -16 focus on the application of the teaching in the first 11 chapters.  There is a transition here that begins 'therefore', he is drawing a conclusion.  Therefore, in light of everything that is covered, from Romans 1 through Romans 11, Paul is going to challenge his readers to a particular course of action.  In the New King James which I use, there is some vocabulary here  that is not quite as contemporary as other places in the New King James, so we need to explain it a little to the English reader.  'I beseech you'  is the Greek word, parakaleo, which means to urge someone to do something, to challenge another believer to a particular course of action;  to appeal to a believer to advance in the Christian life.  It is a verb that has its root in the concept of encouragement, exhortation and challenge.  The verb here is a present active imperative.  Now, grammar is important because it shows us the emphasis of the author's thought. The present imperative means this is supposed to be an ongoing action that is characteristic of the believer's life.  So he is encouraging, or challenging his readers to a particular course of action. So he says, Therefore, in light of all that I have said, I urge you, I challenge you to this course of action, brethren, that is believers, by the mercies of God. So that  his basis is grace.  The basis is the grace of God.  Mercy is grace in action.  There are a couple of different words here  in the Greek that  refer to mercy, but the concept is a  reference to the character of God.  What Paul is saying, is, because you understand the character of God, specifically with reference to His grace.  Now why would he say that?  Because he has gone back and he has given a detailed, logical explanation of God's grace from chapters 1-11.  The focal point of the whole book of Romans  is righteousness.  It deals with the righteousness and justice of God, that the person who is righteous by faith shall live.  I think there is a mistranslation  in that initial chapter, it is usually translated, the righteous shall live by faith and they have 'by faith' associated with the wrong concept there, it is the one who is  righteous by faith,  that is, the justified individual, shall live.  And the ultimate thrust of the book of Romans is how the justified person shall live.  So he begins in the first three chapters, talking about the fact that all men are sinners. In the first chapter he talks about how the gentiles have rejected God and are all under condemnation.  In chapter 2 he focuses on the Jews, and how the Jews are all under condemnation.  Gentile and Jew alike have fallen short of the righteous standard of God, they have not lived up to God's righteous standard. So how then can a man be justified?  In chapter 3 he concludes that  by showing that the penalty of sin is death, the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. And this comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.  In chapter 4 he talks about the principle of justification. We become justified, not by our own works, efforts or morality, we are justified by trusting in God.  The Old Testament model is Abraham.  Abraham was not justified because of who he was, or what he did, but because he trusted God.  At the instant of trust in Christ as savior, God imputes to each one of us the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.  2 Corinthians 5 says He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that the righteousness of God may be found in us.  That is what justification is all about.  At the instant of faith alone in Christ alone, we are justified.  That is grace, it is not due to any thing we have done.  We are justified freely by God's grace.  By His grace then, by virtue of being justified, we have peace with God, this is Romans 5:1.  We have peace with Him, we are reconciled to God in actuality.  That lays the foundation for our spiritual life which is developed in Romans 6-8, which is the best development of Paul's concept of sanctification, or the Christian life.  The believer, because he was identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection at the instant of faith alone in Christ alone, is now in a new position, with new privileges, he is a new creature in Christ.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5  therefore, because we are identified with Christ  in His death burial and resurrection, we are to live a different way, that is Romans 6 and 7.  Romans 6 lays the foundation, Romans 7 Paul explains the struggle he had trying to live up to God's righteous standard on his own, and he concludes he just could not  do it.  The more he tried to keep the Law, the more he tried to do what the Bible said to do, the more he realized what a miserable rotten sinner he was.  But finally, when you come to Romans 8, for the first time he mentions the Holy Spirit.  He begins in Romans 8:1  Therefore, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. 


There is no basis for judgment to those who are in Christ. Why, because we are justified by grace.  (Romans 4).  So we have no condemnation, and God has given us the Holy Spirit, and we have an exposition in Romans 8 on the relationship to the Holy Spirit as the power source for living the Christian life. Romans 7, he could not live up to God's justification on his own.

Romans 8:  because of the Holy Spirit, or by means of the Holy Spirit, Paul is able to live up to God's righteous standard.  He concludes by showing how God's righteousness is related to how He has dealt with Israel and their rejection of the Messiah in Romans 9, 10 and 11, ending with the fact that  God's righteousness would indeed be vindicated historically because He would be true to His Old Testament prophets and all Israel would be saved,  and that is the conclusion of Romans 11.  And all of that demonstrates God's grace, to the Gentile and to the Jew.


Therefore, he says, I urge you, on the basis now that you have an understanding of the mercies of God, that you understand His grace in action, down through history, that you do something, that you present your bodies, and here, the word bodies doesn't just mean your physical body, it is a figure of speech called a synecdoche, trust me, you were never taught that in any English class you ever took.  There is a classic book out written by Bollinger in  the turn of the last century on figures of speech in the Bible, about 3 inches thick,  and I just about tore my copy up in one semester in Psalms class in seminary.  And a synecdoche is when a noun that stands for something it is related to, so the noun that refers to a part of something, actually stands for everything in relationship to it.  It is called a synecdoche of the part, when a part is put for the whole.  It is a figure of speech, by which one word receives something by transference from another word which it is internally associated with by the connection of two ideas.  What that means, if you boil it all down, is that body, here, is used to refer to the totality of the person, body, soul and spirit, everything in a person's life.  What Paul is saying here is I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present yourself, the totality of your person, everything in your life.  The word present is the Greek word parestano, it is an aorist active infinitive of purpose, this is the purpose of his challenge and it means to make something available, to place something at the disposal of someone else, to serve someone else.  The idea in presenting yourself to God is to make yourself usable for God in the Christian life, in Christian service, to not be in rebellion to God, but to be in a position of obedience to God, so He can use you as He is working out His plans and purposes in life.  The basic mandate here is that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.  What exactly does sacrifice mean?  Some people get real concerned because they  think of sacrifice only in terms of  loss of life, for example in the Old Testament, sacrifice is an offering, and a distinction is made sometimes  between an offering, being giving something to God, and  a sacrifice is where a life is taken.  Some people also get the idea that sacrifice somehow involves some sort of torturous giving up something that hurts, that is something that is so dear to me that it is such a painful thing to give this up.  That is a misunderstanding of the concept of sacrifice.  So we are to present our bodies, a living sacrifice.



The word 'present',  parastano, is a word that means to place something at ones disposal, at the disposal of God, this word is used several times in Romans 6, which lays the foundation for our spiritual life, and the word is used there a number of times.  For example, in Romans 6:13 Paul says, do not present your members, that is your body, your life, as instruments of unrighteousness, or sin.  In other words, don't make your life available to the use of your sin nature, but present yourselves , in other words, make yourself available to God,  as being alive from the dead.  Why? Because, you are alive form the dead, you were born again at the instant you put your faith alone in Christ alone.  And we are also to present our members, and again, our whole life, as instruments of righteousness to God.  We are to be, as it were, instruments in the hands of God as surgical instruments in the hands of a surgeon, of course, a surgeon would not want to use infected, dirty rusted tools, he would want to use cleansed tools, and so we have to be sanctified first, that is 1 John 1:9, and we have to be in that process of growing as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, being instruments of righteousness to God.  In Romans 6:16 he reiterates that idea

  16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?


There is an emphasis here on volition, presenting yourself emphasizes your volitional responsibility.  The Scripture, in Romans 6 shows that you are doing  one of two things in any moment in time,  you are either presenting yourself to your sin nature to be a slave or servant of  your sin nature or you are presenting yourself to God to be a slave or servant to God.  There is no middle ground, there is no position of neutrality, there is no gear shift in the Christian life with a position called neutral where you can just coast along. You are either in drive or reverse, one or the other, you are in  a position either  to be utilized by God or not to be utilized by God.  Romans 6:19 

19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. (sin nature) For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, (this is the characteristic of the unbeliever, who presents his life in uncleanness)  and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

I would translate that last word in the sense of sanctification.  The word holy is often misunderstood as having some level of moral purity.  It is the fact that we are to be growing and advancing in the spiritual life.  So Romans 6 emphasizes this idea again an again and again, that is the focal point of Romans 12 :1, and that is that we are to make a volitional decision to present to put ourselves in a place of service to God.  Those two ideas are inherent within the word, volitional responsibility and service to God. In terms of application, before we can effectively serve God, we have to make certain decision, not one shot decisions, but day to day decisions, sometimes moment to moment, hour to hour decisions that we are going to serve God and operate on a changes scale of values, a different scale of priorities, and this is foundational to our spiritual advance.  So Paul says, I challenge you, I urge you therefore brethren on the basis of your understanding of God's grace in your life that you make yourself available, the totality of yourself available, as a living sacrifice.  Now let's look at the meaning of sacrifice.  Sacrifice, according to Webster's Dictionary, this  is just a definition if the English term, it is a sound translation of the Greek, sacrifice is an act of offering to a deity something valuable.  It is not emphasizing the act that somehow hurts or takes something away.  It does not have the ascetic notion, of oh, I am hurting, I am taking something I love away from my life, there is some sort of giving up til it hurts idea, it is simply the fact that you are  recognizing that you are not going to do some things that are fine, good, decent activities, because you want to do something else  that  has a more significant or valuable emphasis.  So, it is the idea of offering to God something valuable.  Furthermore, the definition goes on to read, it has the idea of the giving up of  something or setting aside of something of value, such as time, money, energy, in order to do something else.  So sacrificed can involve the  fact that I have a certain amount of money and I could go out and buy something I want, or just go out to dinner or whatever, and instead I want to use that to help somebody else, or to give it  to the church, or to a missionary or something else. It doesn't have the idea necessarily of hurting.  It is simply a choice, that I am going to use this resource, whatever it may be, in order to serve God. It could be time, I am going to use that time to teach prep school, to help in some other ministry around the church, or some other ministry, helping  a missionary, it could be just giving up energy in order to do something else, and the something else has to do with serving the Lord in some capacity of Christian service, it could be just giving up time when you could stay home watching sports, or tv, or participating in sports or some hobby you enjoy, so you can go to Bible class and take in the word of God.  That is, according to a strict definition of the word sacrifice, a sacrifice.  But some people, when they hear the word sacrifice think it means something that hurts.  Some people, thing when they hear the word suffering it involves some sort of pain, or  you really suffer subjectively in the midst of adversity, whereas  the biblical concept  of suffering is adversity.  So sacrifice is the act of simply taking something of value in our life, time, money, energy, and we are going to use it in the service of God.  So Paul says, I beseech you therefore brethren, on the basis of your understanding of the grace of God, that you present, that is make available, every area of your life as a living sacrifice that is holy, that is sanctified, that is set apart to the service of God, that is what sanctification is, so all of these ideas are synonymous.  Paul has taken these terms that are very close to one another, piling them up, using these  different synonyms, presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.  Holy  means set apart to God, acceptable to God has to do with the fact that is  based on the reality that you are already justified.  Then he concludes by saying, this is your reasonable service.  In fact, in the New American Standard, it translates it your spiritual service of worship. 

  Which certainly brings out some important nuances of the idea, but I don't thing it really nails the concept.  The word translated reasonable, is the Greek word, logikos, from the word logos, which means word.  We think of it in terms of word, but logos also has to do with reason, or rationality, because what lies behind words is reason and thought, in terms of communication.  So logikos, which is the word from which we get  logic, means that which pertains to reason, that which is reasonable or rational  as in something based in rational thought, intelligent meditation, reflection and understanding of the implications and instructions of God.  In other words, it is not just some sort of emotional dedication of your life. This verse is often used in some churches  to say, well, you need to dedicate your life to the Lord and they take the presenting yourselves as a living sacrifice as sort of a one shot decision, but that is not it, it is emphasizing a standard operating procedure.  That you present your bodies as a living sacrifice,  holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable, that is, it is the result of thought, it is a result of understanding doctrine, it is the result of understanding what God has communicated to you, it is a thought out decision based upon an underlying rationale.  The last word is the word I am really focusing on in this whole study, and that is lutrea, the word translated worship.  It is a word used in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Tesatment again and again to describe the work of the  priests in the tabernacle or temple.  This one word that is used here that is  translated service or  worship, is a word that focuses our attention on our ministry, our service to God as priests to God.  This is part of what the text means as part of our rational or logical service that is the result of understanding the grace of God, presenting our entire life, body, soul, spirit, everything we do as a living sacrifice, as something made available to the use of God during our life on the earth , that this is part of our service to Him.  It does not stop there; the next verse develops the idea in terms of more commandments.  Romans 12:2:  and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

 First, there has to be a decision that I am going to have a certain scale of values, a certain priority in my life, that I am going to put service to God first,  but  for the service to God to be effective, flows from knowledge,  it is not, I'm just going to go serve God, let me start doing this and that around the the church, teaching prep school or whatever, and somehow spiritual growth will result, what is given in verse 2 is  the foundation for being able to carry out the mandate of verse 1.  Do not be conformed to this world, that is do not have your thinking conformed to the thinking of the culture around you.  Every people group has a culture, there are large groups of people, for example in the United States or Europe or Asia, who have certain cultural distinctives.  Or there are smaller groups, Western Europe, France, Britain, Italy, each group has different characteristics.  Even then, those groups can be subdivided into smaller groups with different cultures:  Northern Italy, Southern Italy, versus the culture in Sicily.  Or you could talk about the culture in  New England versus the culture in the South, versus the culture in Texas.  The culture in East Texas, versus West Texas.  You can talk about the culture of Houston versus Antonio.  Every group has a culture.  You can talk about the culture of West Houston Bible church versus the culture of some other church.  Each business has it's own culture and characteristics.  You can talk about the  culture of Exxon Mobil versus the culture of Texaco, versus the culture of Citgo.  Culture is an outgrowth of the values and priorities of that group of people.  It is ultimately an outgrowth of their belief system in reality.  What is reality,  what are we trying to do, why are we here, what is our purpose in life? 

Everything in a culture is ultimately grounded in religious presupposition. 

Ultimately it is always going to be grounded in the concept of  what is the ultimate reality and  what am I trying to do in this life in terms of ultimate reality.  If ultimate reality is just eternal matter, then that is all man is, matter, and that is going to produce certain values, who man is and what  society is all about. But if their ultimate reality is a God who is a personal, infinite God, then that is going to produce a completely different set of values. And if man is created in the image of God, as Scripture says, and we believe that, then that is going to change  how we understand who and what we are.  So that is the concept of worldliness, man's culture apart from the impact of the word of God.  And we are all influenced by that in some way or another.  Every human culture is a mix of human viewpoint and divine viewpoint, and, by the blessings of God, we grew up in the United States of America, where we had tremendous freedom to hear about God and the truth of His word.  And many of you have been faithful students of the word of God for many years and for others of you, this is something new.  But all of us, at the starting point,  had a mixed bag of ideas and values,  and all our Christian life is a process of going through  that mixed bag of ideas and values and throwing out that which is not biblical and replacing it with that which is biblical, and that is what verse 2 talks about.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will God. 

The verse begins, don't be conformed to this world.  Another element to that concept of world is the spirit of the times, the spirit of the age.  We live in a time characterized by post modernism.  That is the idea of the spirit of the age.  The German word is zeitgeist, that is why the Greek word is ionos and not cosmos.  It has to do with the spirit of the age, don't be conformed to the spirit of the age,  but be transformed with the renewing, the metamorphosis, the overhaul, of your thinking.  How does that take place?  That overhaul of your thinking is foundational to what verse 1 is challenging you to do in terms of your priesthood, in terms of serving God.  The starting point for serving God is to overhaul your thinking with the word of God  The starting point with God is not getting involved in  Christian service activities. The starting point is sitting in Bible class  to learn the word of God so that your thinking is transformed, and from a foundation of spiritual maturity, and biblical knowledge, you can then serve God from a foundation of knowledge, and not from a foundation of ignorance. 

Unfortunately most churches try to reverse that and  try to argue that  Christian service produces spiritual growth , and that has the cart before the horse.  It is the study of God's word and the changing of our thinking that is the foundation for accurate spiritual service.  All of this is simply to establish the principle that the only way that we can exchange the human viewpoint in our soul for divine viewpoint is to study the word, that's it, that is related to being available to God, to serve Him as part of our priesthood.  So the believer priest is to put the Bible at the center of his life.  The believer priest, to carry out his role as a priest, has to put the Bible at the center of his life.  Let's begin with a few passages that emphasize why the Bible is so important and so valuable.


2 Timothy 3  16 All Scripture is, literally, breathed out by God, not inspired by God in the sense that Shakespeare was inspired when he wrote his plays, or Milton was inspired when he  wrote Paradise Lost, or some musician is inspired when they write a piece of music,  it is the idea of God breathing out,  that God is the ultimate source of  what is in the Scriptures.  All Scripture, is breathed out by God, this is not the product of just human authors, there is a divine author who writes through a human instrument, but the product is the word from God.  It is not the word about God, this is not just human beings reflecting upon their religious experiences, as liberals and neo orthodox theologians hold, it is the word that comes from God.  So  it is God's communication to man, of who He is , who man is what mans purpose is, and what God has done for man in providing life and for providing salvation.  So,  all Scripture is breathed out by God.  That means there is nothing more important than to know what God has said.  Because God has spoken.  If God has spoken, then is there anything in life that is more important than understanding what God has said?  If God has not spoken, then we are all just wallowing around in a cesspool of ignorance, but if God has spoken, then there is nothing more significant than for us to know and understand exactly what God has said.  Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul says, 16"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.


So the Bible is the thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ, it explains to us how God thinks.  It is not only revelation designed to communicate certain things to us from God, but it gives us His way of thinking.  Now, as I take time to reflect upon the word of God and how it is structured and revealed, it is not the way most of us would do it.  If most of us were going to write a book that was an instruction manual, it would look pretty much like most human instruction manuals. That means most of the time we would leave something out.  Just think about this on Christmas morning when you are trying to put some toy together, or assemble some product you purchased at some store.  Remember how it was when most of us were kids, you bought stuff that came assembled, now, nothing comes assembled. You have to get home, and somebody in some third world country drew pictures to try to communicate to us how to put it together, and they have never before used anything like this in their life, and it is quite a challenge sometimes to figure those things out. 


But God has communicated this to us for the purpose of being understood.  Our presupposition is that it is not designed to be confusing, it is designed to open things up, it is designed to be enlightening, to be informative.  So when people open up their Bible and read, and say I'm really confused, they are immediately making a mistake.  They may not understand some things, but the Bible was not written to cloud your mind or confuse you. It was written to clarify, explain and to enlighten.  So you have to approach the word, thinking, this is understandable, I just don't have what I need to understand it right now.  God wrote this in such a way that it can communicate truth to people in any historical situation, in any language, and in any cultural context.  So that whether you are a more primitive South East Asian, or a more technically  sophisticated  and educated Western European, whether you are an African, or whether you are an Indian in South America, whether you live up in the North Pole or down in Tierra del Fuego, wherever you are ever you are, you can understand what God has communicated.  Now that is incredible, because if you know anything about Islam, the Koran can only be understood ifit is  read in Arabic. You just cannot understand it, according to Islamic theologians,  if you read it in any other language.  But, the  Bible was written in such a way that it can be translated, and even if you do not have access to the original languages,  you can understand the message of the Bible, you can understand that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, you can understand that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, you can understand that it is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercies, He saved us, you can understand the truth of Scripture without knowing the original languages.  That does not mean it doesn't help to know the original languages, but you do not have to know the original languages to understand the truth of Scripture.  That is one of the marvelous aspects of how God designed this.

Furthermore, God articulated His truth in different literary formats.  What scholars call genres, different literary types.  There is historical genre, legal genre, the Pentatuch is based on the Mosaic Law. There is poetry in Job, Psalms, in fact over 50 % of the Old Testament is written in poetry.  Almost all the prophets are written in poetry. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes are all written in poetry. Many of the sections within the historical narrative books from Genesis to Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester, all have poetic sections in them.  So God communicates through historical narrative, through legal literature, through poetry, through more didactic explanatory messages, such as the epistles in the New Testament.  Through historical gospel tracts , they are not history, they are not biography, they are gospels, they are written to explain the good news that Christ died on the cross for our sins.  So God uses all these different literary structures  in order to communicate truth and each different structure has different characteristics and aspects to it.  If you or I were writing  an instruction manual, we  would write a categorical doctrinal notebook.  We would write a systematic theology.  But that is not what God did.  In fact for the most part, the Old Testament is historical narrative.  There is even a tremendous amount of historical narrative, historical information given in the prophets in the Old Testament.  Why did God reveal Himself that way?  Then  in the New Testament, there is historical narrative in the Gospels and Acts,  then there is prophetic information in Revelation and the you have the didactic doctrinal sections in the epistles.  Why does God do it that way?  Because He wants you to think about what you are reading.  The analogy I like to use  is the analogy of creation. God created everything, all the different life forms, all the different kinds, and He then called upon Adam, and He said, I want you to name the animals.  That does not mean he is going to go around and say, that is Sparky over there, and that animal with the long neck over there, we'll call that Spot.  He has to analyze, categorize and classify all of these species.  It is going to take time.  He just began the process in that early chapter of Genesis.  Every biologist today is still carrying on that process.  It is through the process of inductive logic and reasoning, and the analysis of all the data, that they come to more and more conclusions and  understanding of  the nature of God's creation.  And so then we used to have just science, and you had science broken down into physics and metaphysics.  You went from physics to biology, zoology, botany, dendrology, all the various sciences, and the more we study the more we classify and the more we create sub categories.  And the same thing happens in the study of God's word.  We are given the core elements in the word of God in order to force us to think deeply and profoundly about what God has said.  If God gave this to us in a list format, as a systematic theology, we would memorize it and go on our way.  But what God has done is to give it to us in such a way that it forces us to as to engage our thinking His revelation, in order to see how it applies to our thinking in every dimension of life, as we  go through life, so that  it is a never ending process of study, and learning and growth and development.  And you can't just stop at any point in the Christian life and say, well, I've learned it al, because it is a never ending process. There is always more to analyze, more to understand.  You can go back to the Old Testament and read through the narratives in Samuel and Kings and there is so much there that has to do with law, and government,  and politics, and the structure of society, and the more you study, the more there is to study.  The more you are then forced to go out and read about  Ancient Near Eastern cultures, and what was happening, what was going on.  It builds our understanding today of  government, law and politics.  This is what the puritans were doing in  back in the 17th and 18th centuries, as they were delving into the Old Testament.  We may not have always  agreed  with their theology or eschatology or aspects of what they were doing, but they  understood the principle.  It was on the basis of their  in depth study of  the word, and not just the clergy , the pastors and theologians, but the everyday believers who were interested in science, law, government, they were getting into the word in order to extrapolate these principles.  This is all part of what the Scripture emphasizes when it talks about the fact that we need to  change the human viewpoint in our soul to divine viewpoint.  It comes from an in depth study of the word of God.  So the Bible is important because it is the word of God, it is important because it is the thinking of Christ.  And it is important because it is the source of light.  So the psalmist  concludes:



Psalm 19:10 
 10 More to be desired are they (that is the knowledge of Scripture)than gold,
 Yea, than much fine gold;
 Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.


This is a priority for the believer priest, to know the word of God.  Next time I want to bring this to a different level of practicality for us.  What does all of that mean?  Look at a subject such as meditation,  the importance of every individual believer reading the word of God to know the word of God, how to read the word of God,  how can you come to understand  the word of God and read it for yourself.  What are the principles  what is its value?  And eventually I want to get into some things related to what kind of Bible you use.  I get questions all the time about translations and study Bibles.  The difference  between and translation and a study Bible. 

What about the newer translations that have come out?  We will address some of those next time.  This morning was designed to focus on the fact that if the word of God is a priority for you as a believer priest, it needs to be at the center of your life. The first thing in your scale of values, because if the Bible is not at the center of your life, and not just knowledge of the Bible for academic sake, but knowledge for relationship with the Lord,  if that is not at the center of your life, then nothing else will come together.  But when the Bible is at the center of your life and the highest priority in your life, then all the other aspects of your life come together and relate to one another in ways you will never appreciate until you get to the end of your life.

Father, we do thank You for the opportunity to study Your word.  To be challenged by the apostle Paul in Romans 12, that we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices.  And this involves being retrained, having our thinking reprogrammed, to completely exchange the human viewpoint ideas in our souls with the divine viewpoint truth in the Scripture.  Father we thank You that the motivation for this is grace, because Your grace provided perfect salvation. A salvation based not on who we are or what we have done, but a salvation based on who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross.  There He paid the penalty  for our all our sins, past, present and future, so sin is no longer the issue.  The issue is trusting in Christ for our salvation.  This morning, if you have never put your faith alone in Christ alone, this is your opportunity to receive God's free gift of eternal life.  Scripture says,  believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It is not a matter of good works, it is not a matter of what you have or have not done in life.  It is not a matter of religious affiliation. It is simply a matter of trust.  Do you rely on Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, alone, for your salvation.  Father, we pray that you would challenge us with the things we have studied this morning, we pray that God the Holy Spirit would make them real to us and that He would help us to see how to change our scale of values to fit that which is presented in the Scripture.  We pray this in Christ's name. Amen.