“Therefore, I appeal to you brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice..”
We’re all quite familiar with this verse, but I want to highlight the “therefore” part of the verse.
I’m not sure if I have heard a correct treatment of that “therefore” yet. Our attention must be drawn back a few pages to what Paul was saying beforehand to initiate such an exhortation.
As it turns out, he has just spent the last few chapters (9-11) explaining about the fate of Israel and why they were currently rejecting the gospel. His point was that while they were the chosen ones of God given through their forefather abraham (ch 4), and even though the received the law and the covenant of God (ch 3), at some point, most of them had walked in disobedience long enough that their hearts became hard and they no longer walked with God.
Paul explains that their falling became riches for the Gentiles. As they rejected the new treasure in Jesus Christ, the new treasure was received by the Gentiles, and in a matter of a century, God’s people experienced an unprecedented change of demographics: there were now more Gentiles than there were Jews.
But with that rejection, Paul gives a stern warning to his Roman readers: if they had fallen, then you might fall as well.
And with that possibility, now we can see Paul’s emphatic exhortation in Romans 12: therefore,….surrender!
Surrender your mind, your heart, and your soul constantly to the will and the kindness of God. For as the Israelites show, it is the unsurrendered heart which became the seeds for apostasy.
We all go through ups and downs and the journey of faith and of life, but to forget a lifestyle of surrender and obedience to Jesus is to walk in a dangerous and narrow path. It is the same path that the Jews suddenly found themselves in in the first century–in unbelief, and ultimately, in rejection.