Recently, a fellow pastor observed of a major non-Christian movement which has many followers that it was impotent. Its followers, he rightly observed, are neither ready to sacrifice for it or die for it.
Does his comment apply also to church members today? One of America’s most prominent pastors has said that although we now have a higher percentage of church members than ever before, with 91 million adults claiming to be “born-again” Christians, never before has the church been less influential in American life. Obviously, the level of commitment by these people is very low.
Paul in Romans 12:1 summons us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God; he calls this our “reasonable service.” The term “body” in this verse stands, by synecdoche, “for the complete man” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1940). It means that we can hold nothing back.
I think of this verse often as pastors tell me of parishioners who are rebellious against God’s truth, and whose basic premise is too often, “My will be done.” The Lord requires a total commitment, even to death, and calls it our “reasonable service.” In other words, God’s chief end is not to glorify man and to enjoy him forever! Rather, as the old catechism stated it, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We can only enjoy God if He comes first in our lives and if we realize that whatever He requires of us is our “reasonable service.” We can only serve and enjoy God on His terms, not on ours.
When the Lord again has priority over and in us, and His law-word truly governs us, then we will have a very different church and country.