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.
Romans 12:1 King James Version (KJV)
Many of us may recall to a time when we were in Sunday School and the Sunday School teacher asked the room, “Who would like to ask Jesus into your heart?” Of course, as children, we all say, “Yes” and mutter some prayer after the teacher. Then the teacher would write it down on a card or a certificate and send us home telling us that Jesus now lives in our heart.
Many of us grew up believing this was all there was to salvation. We believed this is what the grown ups were talking about when they were talking about things like “redemption” and being “washed in the blood of the lamb” or some other nonsense term that really did not connect. But truthfully nothing really felt different.
Then we got a little bit older and began to question the things that our parents taught us. We began to realize that our parents and teachers were just people who happen to have lived a little longer and could be wrong. At some point we have to examine what we really believe. And this is where leading children in a silly un-Biblical prayer can be absolutely fatal to the long term spiritual welfare of those under our charge.
No one needs a “cuties” salvation, they need a real redemption and this only comes with a real commitment. This is why Paul cut to the chase when dealing with the Romans. The command was “present your bodies”. With the simple command he brushes aside all the modern foolishness where people claim to have Jesus in their heart, yet there is nothing in their life that demonstrates any reality behind this claim.
“Present your body.” This means present everything you are and everything you can do, everywhere you would go, everything you would say, all your thoughts, passions, and affections. Truly our life ought to sing in action the great hymn “All to Jesus”. We are invited to give our life, to exchange everything we are so that we can receive everything that Jesus is. His strength for our weakness. Our death for His life. Our worries for His assurance.
We cannot afford to pervert the gospel, watering down the invitation to meaningless platitudes which demand nothing, and therefore does nothing. The invitation, is to give our life, all our plans and hopes, our everything. Jesus died and deserves all that we can give.