by Mike Ratliff
1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν· 2 καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. (Romans 12:1-2 NA28)
1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
One of the requirements for Spirit-filling, which is truly the key to that filling, is “yieldedness.” Those professing Christians I have dealt with who are mired in unbelief about God’s sovereignty, for instance, also display all outer evidence of not being filled with the Holy Spirit. What do I mean? They are not Christlike. They do not reason critically. They are emotional about everything. They use dirty tricks and logical fallacies to try to promote their “cause” instead of stating their points and relying on the Holy Spirit to implant His truth in the hearts of those in debate. Of course, that would imply that their position was biblical, which it is not because if it were then there would be no need for such manipulation. In any case, what is the biblical nature of this “yieldedness” that enables believers to become Spirit-filled?
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:8-11 NASB)
All genuine believers are new creations. They have died with Christ and in this new life they live with Him. This new life in Christ is centered on the fact that Christ has been raised from the dead and death no longer is master over Him. This death was also was intentional. He died to sin once for all. That means that He became the propitiation for those He purchased with His death. His death paid the penalty for a group of people who were guilty of sin. He was sinless, but their sins were laid on Him and His sacrificial death on the Cross was a sufficient sacrifice to redeem those whom He bought. From that time forward, our Saviour lives to God. Now, those in Christ are so because they have been Justified, that is, declared righteous by the Father by faith through grace as His gift. Paul tells all of us here in v11 that we should consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. How do we do that?
12 Μὴ οὖν βασιλευέτω ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐν τῷ θνητῷ ὑμῶν σώματι εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ, 13 μηδὲ παριστάνετε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν ὅπλα ἀδικίας τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, ἀλλὰ παραστήσατε ἑαυτοὺς τῷ θεῷ ὡσεὶ ἐκ νεκρῶν ζῶντας καὶ τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν ὅπλα δικαιοσύνης τῷ θεῷ. 14 ἁμαρτία γὰρ ὑμῶν οὐ κυριεύσει· οὐ γάρ ἐστε ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ χάριν. (Romans 6:12-14 NA28)
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14 NASB)
We are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. We are to mortify it. If we do not do this then we are yielding to it and, therefore, becoming enslaved to it. On the other hand, if we do not go on presenting our bodies to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but, instead, present ourselves to God as those alive from the dead, as instruments of righteousness to God then we are “yielding” to God instead of our lusts.
In v13 the word “presenting” translates the verb παριστάνετε or paristanete the Present, Imperative, Active case of παρίστημι or paristēmi. This is a compound word comprised of histēmi, “to place or stand,” and para, “near.” It, therefore, means “to cause to stand near or before.” It was used in secular Greek to mean, “to place at someone’s disposal,” “to bring [as a sacrifice],” and “bring before (the emperor or the court). However, Paul took this word and applied a Christian meaning. A believer is commanded to place himself before the Lord as a living sacrifice for God’s glory and use, to yield to the total control of God’s will, to conform not to the world’s way of doing things, but to God’s way as revealed in His Word.
Look at the passage I placed at the top of this post (Romans 12:1-2). The word “present” in v1 translates the verb παραστῆσαι or parastēsai, the Infinitive, Aorist, Active case of παρίστημι. This is the essence of being a Spirit-filled Christian, that is, we must start by yielding ourselves entirely to God’s will because He is sovereign. This is BEING a living sacrifice. What is the promise for believers who live this way?
2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
We will be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That is what happens when we submit to the authority of Word of God and live according to His truth instead of the ways of the world. Because we do this we will grow in Christlikeness. We will have the mind of Christ and may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.
This yieldedness is not by the cafeteria plan. We don’t pick and choose what part of God’s will to submit to and hang onto our own will in other areas. No, the believer who is Spirit-filled has taken the will of God as the rule of his or her life. To be in the will of God is simply to be willing to do His will without reference to any particular thing He may choose. It is electing His will to be final, even before we know what He may wish us to do.
The way to know God’s will is to know His Word. To be yielded is to covenant with God to obey His Word before we even know what it says. It all boils down to the Sovereignty of God. Either you believe He is or you don’t. How you live your Christian life reflects this belief in every area.
Soli Deo Gloria!