Paul's Epistle to the Romans

 (42) Relationship to God 
Romans 12:1-2

 


SCRIPTURE

1 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.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 


INTRODUCTION

The foundation for Christian living has been laid in Christian knowledge and faith. But, before we can live as a Christian, we must understand how we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and then we will know better how to walk in him. There is a great deal of responsibility prescribed in this chapter. The exhortations are short and to the point, briefly summing up what is good, and what the Lord our God in Christ requires of us. It is an excellent collection of the guiding principles of the Christian religion, and it is joined to Chapter 11 by the word, “therefore.”

The particular exhortations of this chapter can be reduced to the three main principals of Christian duty: our duty to God, to ourselves, and to our brother. The grace of God teaches us, in general, to live "godly, soberly, and righteously;’’ and to deny all that is contrary to those principals. Now, this chapter will help us to understand what Paul means by godliness, sobriety, and righteousness.

 


COMMENTARY


1 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.

 

I [1]beseech  you therefore, brethren,

The exhortation is introduced very pathetically: “I beseech you, brethren.” This salutation is probably intended both for the Jews and the Gentiles; though some suppose that the Jews are addressed in the first verse, the Gentiles in the second. Although Paul was a great apostle, yet he made appeals to the poorest and most wretched of his Jewish brethren (brethren being a term of affection and concern). He attempts to reach them by appealing to their sense of kinship; this is an effective way to introduce the Gospel to the Jews: as though God beseeches them, through us: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Although he might have used his authority in a heavy-handed way to influence others, he did not do it; except for love’s sake he beseeches them to live a life that is acceptable to God. “Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ” (Philemon 8:9). The poor are more likely to respond to appeals and pleas according to Proverbs 18:23; “The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.” Here it is implied that you can reach more people with kindness, and that it is easier to lead them, than it is to drive them.

Chapters 1-11have been used by Paul to expounded the marvelous plan of salvation by which a just God can save ungodly sinners and still be just in doing so. He has shown how Christ’s work brought more glory to God and more blessing to men than Adam lost through his sin. He has explained how grace produces holy living in a way that law could never do. He has traced the unbreakable chain of God’s purpose from foreknowledge to eventual glorification. He has set forth the doctrine of sovereign election and the companion doctrine of human responsibility. And he has traced the justice and harmony of God’s dispensational dealings with Israel and the nations. Now, in the remaining five Chapters the epistle takes a turn from Christian doctrine to the application of the righteousness of God.

He makes his argument in three parts:
I. Righteousness of God Demonstrated in Christian Duties 
 A.     Responsibilities Toward God 
 B.     Responsibilities Toward Society 
 C.     Responsibilities Toward Government 
 D.     Responsibilities Toward Neighbors 
II. Righteousness of God Demonstrated in Christian Liberties 
 A.     Principles of Christian Liberty 
 B.     Practices of Christian Liberty 
III. Conclusion 
 A.     Paul’s Purposes for Writing 
 B.     Paul’s Plans for Traveling 
 C.     Paul’s Praise and Greetings

by the mercies of God,

The sum total of all that Paul had said about justification, sanctification, and the salvation of men, is that their divine effect is to be attributed neither to human merit nor to human efforts, but to the mercy of God; the tender mercies or compassions of God, like a tender father shows to his unruly children; who, when they say they are sorry, he is easily persuaded to forgive their offenses. Hence, the whole dialogue is brought to bear as a motive for devotion to God.

God is a merciful God; we receive the fruits of his mercy every day, particularly mercy to our bodies: he made them, he maintains them, he bought them, and he has put a great dignity upon them. It is by the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, that our souls remain alive; and the greatest mercy of all is that Christ has made his body and his soul, an offering for sin, that he gave himself for us and gives himself to us.

that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,

A sacrifice.  A sacrifice is an offering made to God as atonement for sin; or any offering made to him as an expression of thanksgiving or worship. It implies that the person who offers it presents it totally, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honor of God. In the case of an animal, it was slain, and the blood offered; in the case of any other offering, such as the firstfruits, for example, it was set apart to the service of God; and the one who offered it released all claim on it, and presented it to God, to be disposed of at his will. This is the offering which the apostle implores the Romans to make; to devote themselves to God, as if they no longer had any claim on themselves; to be disposed of by him; to suffer and bear all that he might dish out; and to promote his honor in any way which he might command. This is the nature of true religion.

There is something very special about these particular sacrifices; they are “living sacrifices.” The expression probably means that they were to devote the vigorous, active powers of their bodies and souls to the service of God. The Jew offered his victim, slew it, and presented it dead. It could not be presented again. In opposition to this, we are to present ourselves with all our living, vital energies. Christianity does not require a service of death or inactivity. It demands vigorous and active powers in the service of God the Savior. There is something very touching about such a sacrifice; with regard to life, with all its vitality, its intellectual, and moral, and physical powers, it is one long sacrifice-one continued offering unto God. An immortal being presented to him; presented voluntarily, with all his energies, from day to day, until life shall cease, so that it may be said that he has lived and died as an offering made freely unto God. This is religion.

That ye present. The word used here commonly refers to the action of bringing and presenting an animal or other sacrifice before an altar. It implies that the action was a free and voluntary offering. Religion is free; and the act of devoting ourselves to God is one of the most free that we ever perform.

Your bodies. In the Old Testament, the bodies of animals were offered in sacrifice. It was the entire animal that was committed, and evidently Paul had that ceremony in mind when he wrote this passage. Here, the term “your bodies” means your entire person is devoted to the service of God. “Ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God, in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Thus believers, in 1 Peter 2:5, are called “living stones.” The word living, however, may mean perpetual, lasting, never neglected; as in the phrases, “living bread,” John 6:51, ‘bread which never looses its power;’ “living hope,” 1 Peter 1:3, ‘hope which never fails;’ “living waters,” “a living way,” etc. The word “body,” as it is used here, stands for the complete man.

A living sacrifice. That it is to be a sacrifice, suggests that it is to be understood as the outcome of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That it is to be living, sets it in contrast with animal sacrifices, whether those appointed by God for the Jews, or those offered in idolatrous worship by Gentiles. Secondly, it suggests that the sacrifice is to be constant.
The hymn "Take My Life And Let It Be" expresses very well the concept of one giving himself completely to God.

1     Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord to Thee;
Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
2     Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee;
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3     Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
4     Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose,
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5     Take my will, and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
6     Take my love—my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself—and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

holy. The term holy is probably a direct to the frequent use of a nearly corresponding word in the Hebrew Scriptures, which, when applied to sacrifices, is commonly rendered without blemish. The word holy in this context is equivalent to immaculate, that is, free from those defects which would cause an offering to be rejected.

There is a fundamental holiness in every sacrifice that is dedicated to God. But, besides this, there must be that real holiness which resides in the goodness of a heart and a life dedicated to God, by which we are conformed to both the nature and will of God. Even our bodies must not be made the instruments of sin and uncleanness, but set apart for God, and put to holy uses, as the vessels of the tabernacle were holy, being devoted to God’s service. It is the soul that is the proper subject of holiness; but a sanctified soul communicates holiness to the body it activates and animates. That which is holy is according to the will of God; when the bodily actions are in this fashion, the body is holy. They are the temples of the Holy Ghost: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”  (1 Corinthians 6:19). Then in 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5, Paul says that we are to possess the body in sanctification: “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.”

acceptable unto God.

Acceptable is used here in the same sense as the phrase, “for a sweet smelling savor,” (See [2]Ephesians 5:2 ; [3]Philippians 4:18 ; [4]Leviticus 1:9. The term acceptable, that is, grateful, well-pleasing; a sacrifice in which God delights.

The great objective we should all work to achieve is to be accepted by the Lord [5](2 Corinthians 5:9), to have him well-pleased with us personally and with our performances. Now these living sacrifices are acceptable to God; while the sacrifices of the wicked, though sizeable and costly, are an abomination to the Lord. It can only be due to God’s great compassion and mercy that he will agree to accept anything in us; and we can desire no more than that to make us happy.

which is your reasonable service.

Reasonable service. The consecration of the body to God is not an outward act, like the sacrifice of an animal on the altar, but an act of the mind, or reason; hence “a reasonable service.” Our God must be served in the spirit and with the understanding. There is all the reason in the world for it, and no good reason can possibly be produced against it. “Come now, and let us reason together,” (Isaiah 1:18). God does not impose upon us any thing hard or unreasonable, but only that which is totally agreeable to the principles of right reason. The word of God does not leave out the body in holy worship. The only service acceptable to God is that which is according to the written word. It must be gospel worship, spiritual worship. God deals with us as with rational creatures, and he wants us to deal with him the same way.

It is not the thing offered that is said to be reasonable in the sense of, endowed with reason, but rather it is the nature of the service that is reasonable. It is rendered by the mind. Formerly animals destitute of reason were offered unto God, but now men who possess a rational soul become the offering.

We may learn from this verse:
1. That the proper worship of God is the free worship of the mind. It is not forced or controlled. The offering of ourselves should be voluntary. No other type of offering can be a true offering, nor can it be acceptable.
2. We are to offer our entire selves, all that we have and are, to God. He will not approve of any other type of offering.
3. The character of God should lead us to that worship he desires from us. It is a character of mercy—of long-continued patience and tolerance—and it should influence us to devote ourselves to him.
4. It should be done without delay. God is as worthy of such service now as he ever will or can be. He has every possible claim on our affections and our hearts.

____________verse 1 notes_____________
[1](beseech) To call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation):— call for, exhort, entreat, pray.
[2](Ephesians 5:2) “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Another way in which we should resemble the Lord is by walking in love. The rest of the verse explains that to walk in love means to give ourselves for others. This is what Christ, our perfect example, did. Amazing fact! He loved us. The proof of His love is that He gave Himself for us in death at Calvary.
His gift is described as an offering and a sacrifice to God. An offering is anything given to God; a sacrifice here includes the additional element of death. He was the true burnt offering, the One who was completely devoted to do the will of God, even to the death of the cross. His sacrifice of unspeakable devotion is eulogized as being for a sweet-smelling aroma.
[3](Philippians 4:18) But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. 
[4](Leviticus 1:9) But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
[5](2 Corinthians 5:9) Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.


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

And be not conformed to this world:

Paul urges us not to be conformed to this world, or as Phillips paraphrases it: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” When we come to the kingdom of God, through faith in his Son, we should abandon the thought-patterns and lifestyles of the world.

Not only is God to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, but there must be a corresponding holiness of life. This idea is expressed in the manner most common with the sacred writers; they regard men all across the world as corrupted and devoted to sin. The world is with them the same as it is with the immoral; to be conformed to the world, therefore, it is to be like unconverted men in disposition and in life. The word accurately translated conformed, expresses strongly the idea of similarity in character and manners; and the word translated transformed expresses with equal strength the opposite idea.
The spirit of the world is opposed to that of Christ. Satan is “the Prince of this world.” Christ died (Gal 1:4) “to deliver us from this present wicked world.” Hence the service of Christ renders necessary a refusal to fashion ourselves after its ways.
The great point being made here, then, is, that we who are believers are consecrated and dedicated to God, and, therefore, should not speak, plan, or act, without giving consideration to his glory. What he has made sacred cannot, without being an insult to him, be applied to profane use. But if we are not our own, but the Lord’s instead, it is obvious both what faults we are to turn away from, and to what purpose our lives ought to be directed. We are not our own; therefore, neither is our own reason or our own will to rule our acts and our counsel. We are not our own; therefore, let us not make it our aim to seek what may be agreeable to our carnal nature. We are not our own; therefore, as far as possible, let us forget ourselves and the things that are ours. On the other hand, we are God’s; let us, therefore, live and die to him [6](Rom. 14:8 ). We are God’s; therefore, let his wisdom and will preside over all our actions. We are God’s; to him, then, as the only legitimate end, let every part of our life be directed.

The world (literally age) as used here means the society or system that man has built in order to make himself happy without God. It is a kingdom that is antagonistic to God. The god and prince of this world is Satan ([7]2 Cor. 4:4 ; [8]John 12:31 ; [9]14:30 ; [10]16:11). All unconverted people are his subjects. He seeks to attract and hold people through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life [11](1 Jn. 2:16 ). The world has its own politics, art, music, religion, amusements, thought-patterns, and lifestyles, and it seeks to get everyone to conform to its culture and customs. It hates nonconformists—like Christ and His followers.

Christ died to deliver us from this world. The world is crucified to us, and we are crucified to the world. It would be absolute disloyalty to the Lord for believers to love the world. Anyone who loves the world is an enemy of God.
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,

Be ye transformed.

Be ye metamorphosed, “transformed” [12](2 Corinthians 3:18 ),  transfigured ([13]Matthew 17:2 , [14]Mark 9:2 ); appear as new persons, and with new habits, as God has given you a new form of worship, so that ye serve in the newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. The word implies a radical, thorough, and universal change, both outward and inward. Instead of following the ways of the world, the Christian must be “transformed,” changed into a new form of life by the renewing of his mind, by having a new spirit, and walking after the Spirit.

Believers are not of the world any more than Christ is of the world. However, they are sent into the world to testify that its works are evil and that salvation is available to all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not only be separated from the world; we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind, which means that we should think the way God thinks, as revealed in the Bible. Then we can experience the direct guidance of God in our lives. And we will find that, instead of being distasteful and hard, His will is good and acceptable and perfect.
Here, then, are three keys for knowing God’s will. The first is a yielded body, the second a separated life, and the third a transformed mind.

By the renewing of your [15]mind.

Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind, and it is the same with making a new heart and a new spirit, new dispositions and inclinations, and new sympathies; the understanding enlightened, the conscience softened, the thoughts put right; the will bowed to the will of God, and the affections made spiritual and heavenly: so that the man is not what he was-old things are passed away, all things are become new; he acts from new principles, by new rules, with new intention. The mind is the acting ruling part of us; so that the renewing of the mind is the renewing of the whole man, for out of it are the issues of life [16](Proverbs 4:23 ). The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on of this renewing work, till it becomes perfected in glory. We cannot make this change ourselves: we could just as easily make a new world as we could make a new heart by any power of our own; it is God’s work ([17]Ezekiel 11:19 ; [18]36:26, 27 ). But be you transformed, that is, "use the means which God has appointed and ordained for it.’’ It is God that transforms us, and then we are changed. Although the new man must be created by God, yet we must put on that new man [19](Ephesians 4:24 ), and with God’s help, work towards perfection.

The Christian is often represented as a new creature:
•  2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
• Galatians 6:15, For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
• Ephesians 4:24, And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
• 1 Peter 2:2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

that ye may prove

Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon gives the following meaning to the phrase “may prove:”
1. to test, examine, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2. to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words gives this meaning for “may prove:” to test (lit. or fig.); by impl. to approve:— allow, discern, examine, × like, (ap-) prove, try.

The phrase “may prove” as used here, is commonly applied to metals, to the operation of testing, or trying them by the purifying effect of fire.  Consequently it also means to explore, investigate, ascertain. This is its meaning here. The sense is that such a renewed mind is essential to a successful inquiry after the will of God. Having a disposition to obey him, the mind will be prepared to understand his precepts. A renewed heart is the best preparation for studying Christianity; the man who is chaste has most clearly and forcibly the arguments for chastity, etc. A heart in love with the fashions and follies of the world is ill-fitted to appreciate the arguments for humility, prayer, etc. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God," (John 7:17). The reason why the heart is renewed is that we may do the will of God; the heart that is renewed is best fitted to appreciate and understand his will— what the Lord our God requires of us

what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

It might be a good idea to first define the terms good, acceptable, perfect, and will of God; then, with that understanding, to comment on the complete phrase.
1. What is that good. That which is good is anyone or anything that promotes the honor of God, and the welfare of his universe. It is implied that that thing which is good is his will; or that we may find his will by finding that which is good.
2. Acceptable. That which will be pleasing to God, or which he will approve.
3. And perfect.
a. Finished and complete:
when the mind is renewed, and the whole life changed, then the will of God is perfectly fulfilled; for this is its grand design in reference to every human being.
b. Free from defect, stain, or injury. That which has all its parts complete. Applied to religion, it means that which is consistent, which is carried out; which is evidenced in all the circumstances and relations of life.
4. Will of God.
a. What God wishes or has determined shall be done.
b. The purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ.
c. What God wishes to be done by us.
d. God’s commands, precepts.
e. God’s choice, inclination, desire, pleasure.

The will of God relates to his commands in regard to our conduct, his doctrines in regard to our belief, and his providential dealings in relation to our external circumstances. It means what God demands of us, in whatever way it may be made known. "The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way" (Psalms 25:9).

What is the great effect of this renewing of our mind, which we must strive for: That you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Here, in this context, we are to understand that what is meant by the will of God is his revealed will concerning our duty, what the Lord our God requires of us. This is the will of God in general, even our sanctification, that will which we pray may be done by us as it is done by the angels; especially his will as it is revealed in the New Testament, where he hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son.

First, the will of God is good, and acceptable, and perfect; three excellent properties of a law. It is good [20](Micah 6:8 ); it is exactly in harmony with the eternal reason of good and evil. It is good in itself. It is good for us. It is perfect, to which nothing can be added. The revealed will of God is a sufficient rule of faith and practice, containing all things which are predisposed to the perfection of the man of God, to equip us thoroughly to accomplish every good work—“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” [20](2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
Secondly, That it inspires Christians to prove what is that will of God which is good, and acceptable, and perfect; that is, to know it with judgment and approval, to know it experimentally, to know the excellence of the will of God by the experience of a conformity to it.
Thirdly, That those who are best able to prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, are individuals who are transformed by the renewing of their mind. The promise is [21](John. 7:17 ), If any man will do his will, he should know the doctrine, and weather it comes from God or Man. A person with a good sense of humor can dispute and discern the will of God; while an honest, humble heart that has exercised  its spiritual senses, and is placed into the mould of the Word, loves it, and practices it, and has the relish and appreciation of it. Thus to be godly is to surrender ourselves to God.


__________________verse 2 notes__________________
[6](Romans 14:8) “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”  Everything we do in life is subject to Christ’s scrutiny and approval. We test things by how they appear in His presence. Even in death we aspire to glorify the Lord as we go to be with Him. Both in life and in death we belong to Him.
[7](2 Corinthians 4:4) “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan is the culprit. He is here called the god of this age. He has succeeded in putting a veil over the minds of the unbelieving ones. He would keep them in perpetual darkness, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ ... should shine on them that they might be saved. 
[8](John 12:31) “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
[9](John 14:30) “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”
[10](John 16:11) “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
[11](1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 
[12](2 Corinthians 3:18) “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” As we are occupied with the glory of the risen, ascended, exalted Lord Jesus Christ, we are being transformed into the same image. Here, in a word, is the secret of Christian holiness—occupation with Christ. Not by occupation with self; that brings only defeat. Not by occupation with others; that brings disappointment. But by occupation with the glory of the Lord, we become more and more like Him. This marvelous, transforming process takes place from glory to glory, that is, from one degree of glory to another. It is not a matter of instant change. There is no experience in the Christian life that will reproduce His image in a moment. It is a process, not a crisis. It is not like the fading glory of the law, but an ever-increasing glory.

[13](Matthew 17:2) “And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Peter, James, and John, who seem to have occupied a place of special nearness to the Savior, were privileged to see Him transfigured. Up to now His glory had been veiled in a body of flesh. But now His face and clothes became radiant like the sun and dazzling bright, a visible manifestation of His deity, just as the glory cloud or Shekinah in the OT symbolized the presence of God.
[14](Mark 9:2) “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.” Jesus was transfigured—dazzling splendor radiated from His Person. Even His clothes were shining, whiter than any bleach could make them.
[15]( Mind)  The word translated mind properly denotes intellect, as distinguished from the will and affections. But here it seems to be used as applicable to the whole spirit as distinguished from the body, including the understanding, will, and affections. As if he had said, let not this change pertain to the body only, but to the soul, also. Let it not be a mere external conformity, but let it have its base in the spirit. Note: if the mind was not changed, it would be useless, or would be hypocrisy. Christianity seeks to reign in the soul; and having its seat there, the external conduct and habits will be regulated accordingly. 
[16](Proverbs 4:23) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The mind is the fountain from which the actions spring. If the fountain is pure, the stream that flows from it will be pure. As a man thinks, so is he. So this verse emphasizes the importance of a clean thought life.
[17](Ezekiel 11:19) And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 
[18](Ezekiel 36:26-27) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 
[19](Ephesians 4:24) “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” The new man is what a believer is in Christ. It is the new creation, in which old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). This new kind of man is according to God, which is, created in His likeness. And it manifests itself in true righteousness and holiness.

[20](Micah 6:8) “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” What does the Most High seek to receive from us? Not extravagant animal sacrifices! Certainly not human sacrifices! But justice, and mercy, and humility. This verse describes what God requires; to obey this, a person must have divine life. An unconverted person is totally incapable of producing this kind of righteousness.

[21](John 7:17) “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” There is a wonderful promise here for everyone earnestly seeking the truth. If a person is sincere, and truly wants to know what the truth is, God will reveal it to him. “Obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge.”

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