This text begins: “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. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
This verse is not a demand, but it does implore (or strongly urge) Christians to sacrifice their wills to do God’s will. By denying self and obeying God, we become living sacrifices and will be transformed into Christ’s image. Who is urging us? God is. Remember, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Therefore, all verses in the Bible are from God and purposed for our instruction and development.
The Apostle Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit and recognized God’s wonderful invitation to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus, Himself, told His disciples, “ If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). It’s very hard to practice God’s will in this present evil world. Therefore, faithful Christians are promised an incredibly gracious reward: the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Paul greatly valued this opportunity to suffer with Christ in order to reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). In Romans 12:1, 2, Paul is fervently encouraging brethren to continue in the walk of self-sacrifice.
The basic requirements of God for all mankind are found in Micah 6:8 (NKJV), “what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Presently, we do not see this happening, because “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers,” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NIV).
All mankind will eventually benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice. When Jesus and His church reign in the resurrection (John 5:29), then Israel and everyone will have God’s “laws in their minds” and written “on their hearts. (Then) I will be their God.” (Hebrews 8:10).