The Heart of a Living Sacrifice–Part Two

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. And 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 of God…Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love…rejoicing in hope” (Romans 12:1-2, 10, 12).

In addition to a heart bursting with genuine love which abhors evil and is passionate for good (see yesterday’s post), a holy and acceptable-to-God living sacrifice has a heart which is full of tenderness, joy, and hope.

“Being kindly affectionate” (philostorgos) is to be expressed with brotherly love (phila­delphia). The innate bonds of familial love and affection are to be cultivated and expressed toward every other member of Christ’s body/God’s family. Just as Christ’s blood flows freely and constantly in His body to keep every member warm, nourished, and thriving, brotherly love among its members is an essential component of the church’s vitality. Pure and fervent brother­ly love is to course through each member of Christ’s body (1 Peter 1:22). The will of God (Mark 3:31-35) and a common salvation (Jude 3) by the blood of Christ make many members into one body. Brotherly, tenderhearted love is essential to keeping that body one.

“Rejoicing in hope” succinctly describes the inseparable connection of two of the heart’s greatest blessings. Joy without hope is shallow, unsustainable optimism. Hope without joy is an impossibility. When a penitent believer calls upon the name of the Lord as Saul of Tarsus did (Acts 22:16), he rises from the watery grave of baptism with a living hope of an eternal inherit­ance—incorruptible, undefiled, fadeless, and reserved in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4). This confident expectation provides a steadfast and sure anchor for the soul and a great, inexpressible joy, even in the midst of life’s most grievous trials (1 Peter 1:6). There is no greater balm for the heart than Christ’s blessings of joy and hope.

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Author: jchowning

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