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Valley of Daily Duty


ROM. 12:1-2




John W. Worley, Ph.D.

11/11/00 Veterans Day




You have always been an inspiration to me, from the first day I met you.  You really are a great example to me and my family.  An example of strength, love, and wisdom distributed with tenderness.  I love you.


This note is to let you know the deep respect I feel for your bravery and sacrifice you made as a soldier.  Thank you for protecting our land and our generations.


To the bravest soldier I know, I salute you.


Love, Joe

Valley of Daily Duty


• Look out for number one.

• Life is short, so grab all the gusto you can.

• You can have it all in the here and now.

• Don't be a mat for anyone.

• If someone knocks you down, get up and hit him harder.

• Winning is everything.

• People only remember those who come in first, so don't settle for second.

I could continue the list, but you get the picture. You see it everyday—through television, movies, sports events, newspapers, countless books, friends, and family.

Getting what you want, when you want it, as often as you want it, and however you want it is our society's message.

It's what we're supposed to go after, to model. It's presented as the key to living happily ever after. But is it true?

Can it really deliver what it promises?

The Bible says no. Serving self first will never bring lasting happiness.

Sure, it may feel good for the short haul. In fact, you may even feel as if you deserve to have your needs and wants met above those of others.

But if you really live with self-service as your goal, you will miss genuine, lasting joy.  You will miss the Christian life and all the blessings that come with it because the life we are to live through Christ begins with other-service, which is just another name for self-sacrifice.

But don't misunderstand me. This is not the kind of sacrifice where you flagellate yourself until others feel better or get what they want. No.

This is transformed sacrificial living. It changes our character, our minds, our hearts, until our most basic drive in life is to help others, to serve them in every way we can so they too will not only see but desire and even begin to live and enjoy the life of other-centered living in Christ


“How can this be? It seems so backward, so contrary to the way our society wants us to live.”

That's just the point. God's perspective is right-side up, while ours is really upside down. We think our viewpoint is normal, but it isn't.

Our perspective is messed up, confused, irrational. God's is perfect, clear, and eminently rational.

So if you have to, work through this message standing on your head—intellectually and practically, that is.

Paul is about to reorient our thinking so it resembles God's.

ROMANS 12:1-2



1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.



The term “exegesis” refers to the historical investigation into the meaning of the Biblical text.  Exegesis, therefore, answers the question,

What did the Biblical author mean

It has to do with what he said (the content itself) and why he said it at any given point (the literary context).

Furthermore, exegesis is primarily concerned with intentionality: What did the author intend his original readers to understand?




1.              In chapters 1-8 the plan of salvation (doctrinal) is presented.

2.              The hope of Israel (dispensational) in chapters 9-11.

3.              And an exhortation to godliness (devotional) in chapters 12 to 16.

Doctrine must be followed by duty for privilege brings responsibility and precept must have practice.

Doctrine (precept, teaching, tenet, principle, rule, canon, creed, dogma) must be followed by duty

for privilege (advantage, carte blanche, entitlement, due, liberty, license) brings responsibility

and precept (rule, decree, law, ordinance, regulation, principle) must have practice.

From the pinnacle of glorious exultation over the greatness of God in the last verses of Romans chapter 11, believers are brought to the valley of daily duty.

The journey in the valley is not annoying, not tiring, it is down-to-earth.  The plane of service is made easy because of the glorious heights of Christian doctrine (teaching) and experience.

The laws of Christian life are discussed in 12:1 to 13:7;

The laws of Christian love are discussed in 13:8 to 16:24. 

Verses 1 and 2 of chapter 12 deal with the Christian attitude toward fellowmen. 

Verses 3-13 consider the Christian attitude toward fellowmen. 

Verses 14-21 discuss the Christian attitude toward enemies.

Service to God is vitally related to consecration and separation.  Paul does not command, he requests.  The kindness of our Lord, not his stern command, is the basis of the appeal.

Believers consecrate themselves to God because of His forgiveness.  The glorious leniency listed in the previous chapters, including:


justification by faith (Rom. 4:18-25),


assurance (Rom. 5:1-11) ,


freedom from the penalty and power of sin (Rom. 6:1-14),


the promise of ultimate glorification(Rom. 8:12-17)


These are the bases for moving Christians toward God.

Believers’ bodies are to be presented (offered) as a living sacrifice in contrast to the dead sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood. 

We as fallen creatures can be cleansed and become holy and acceptable.  The body is physical, but the intent seems to include all members and faculties.  That is reasonable (intelligent) service.

The call is for non-conformity to the world.  This is not merely an outward act of self-renunciation.  Anything that would displease God and dishonor His holy name is conformity to the world.  The Christian is to have God’s viewpoint in relation to the world.

The word world refers to the spirit that moves humans contrary to the will of God, the spirit of selfishness, the pleasing of self, and submission to the devil. J.B. Phillips renders it: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.”


The Christian is to be transformed (transfigured, or changed) by the renewing of his mind.  Metamorphoo, translated “transformed” here, occurs four times in the New Testament, twice in the account of the Transfiguration and in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where it is rendered “changed.”

From these instances believers gain insight as to how to live the transfigured life.  When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, God’s glory shone through Him, not upon Him.  Even so, the indwelling Christ is to control the believer’s entire being so he will reflect His glory.  This is what God’s will is; it is good, acceptable, and therefore perfect.

The term used here for “mind” (noos) can include the intellect, the will, and the emotions.  As Paul made clear in Rom. 8:5-7, the mind is the battlefield where most of Satan’s attacks come.

5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

The outcome of the battle depends on whether we yield our minds to the flesh or to the Spirit. James warned the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways James 1:18. 

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;  8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The goal God has for His children is for them to have “the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16.

14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

    16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The “renewing” indicates present continuous action on the mind.  In the new birth, the believer receives a renewed spirit (John 3:1-8); this is regeneration.

3 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.  6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.  8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

The continuous renewing of the mind is a major part of the process of sanctification. 

When one’s mind is being renewed by the Word, prayer, and right choices, it becomes easy to know and to live in God’s perfect will.

Rom 8:  6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…

My dear brothers and sisters it is your choice this day to determine your life’s daily condition

Do you want confusion, mental torment, and to live in defeat?

Then chose to have your “mind controlled by the Spirit” which will give you “Life and Peace.”

Romans 12:1

Therefore (oujn [oun]). This inferential participle gathers up all the great argument of chapters 1 to 11. Now Paul turns to exhortation (parakalw [parakaloµ]), “I beseech you.” By the mercies (dia twn oijktirmwn [dia toµn oiktirmoµn]). “By means of the mercies of God” as shown in his argument and in our lives. See II Cor. 1:3 for “the Father of mercies.” To present (parasthsai [parasteµsai]). First aorist active infinitive of paristhmi [paristeµmi], for which verb see 6:13, a technical term for offering a sacrifice (Josephus, Ant. IV. 6, 4), though not in the O.T. Used of presenting the child Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:22), of the Christian presenting himself (Rom. 6:13), of God presenting the saved (Eph. 5:27), of Christ presenting the church (Col. 1:28). Bodies (swmata [soµmata]). So literally as in 6:13, 19; II Cor. 5:10 and in contrast with nou" [nous] (mind) in verse 2.  A living sacrifice (qusian zwsan [thusian zoµsan]). In contrast with the Levitical sacrifices of slain animals. Cf. 6:8, 11, 13. Not a propitiatory sacrifice, but one of praise. Acceptable (eujareston [euareston]). “Well-pleasing.” See on II Cor. 5:9. Which is your reasonable service (thn logikhn uJmwn latreian [teµn logikeµn humoµn latreian]). “Your rational (spiritual) service (worship).” For latreia [latreia], see on 9:4. Logiko" [Logikos] is from logo" [logos], reason.  The phrase means here “worship rendered by the reason (or soul).” Old word, in N.T.  only here and I Peter 2:2 to logikon gala [to logikon gala] (not logical milk, but the milk nourishing the soul).

Romans 12:2

Be not fashioned (mh sunschmatizesqe [meµ sunscheµmatizesthe]). Present passive imperative with mh [meµ], stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned. Late Greek verb suschmatizw [suscheµmatizoµ], to conform to another’s pattern (I Cor. 7:31; Phil. 2:7). In N.T. only here and I Peter 1:14. According to this world (tw/ aijwni toutw/ [toµi aioµni toutoµi]). Associative instrumental case. Do not take this age as your fashion plate. Be ye transformed (metamorfousqe [metamorphousthe]). Present passive imperative of metamorfow [metamorphooµ], another late verb, to transfigure as in Matt. 17:2 (=Mark 9:2); II Cor. 3:18, which see. On the distinction between schma [scheµma] and morfh [morpheµ], see Phil. 2:7. There must be a radical change in the inner man for one to live rightly in this evil age, “by the renewing of your mind” (th/ ajnakainwsei tou noo" [teµi anakainoµsei tou noos]). Instrumental case. The new birth, the new mind, the new (kaino" [kainos]) man. That ye may prove (eij" to dokimazein [eis to dokimazein]). Infinitive of purpose with eij" to [eis to], “to test” what is God’s will, “the good and acceptable and perfect” (to ajgaqon kai eujareston kai teleion [to agathon kai euareston kai teleion]).


Faith Alive

Before we press on, go back through these four keys to the Christian life and consider their role in your life. Are you actively obeying them? If not, what steps can you begin taking this week to obey them in very down-to-earth ways? Be specific.

Be Consecrated

Don't Be Conformed

Be Transformed

Maintain a Proper Self-Perspective


The term “exegesis” refers to the historical investigation into the meaning of the Biblical text.  Exegesis, therefore, answers the question, What did the Biblical author mean?  It has to do with what he said (the content itself) and why he said it at any given point (the literary context).  Furthermore, exegesis is primarily concerned with intentionality: What did the author intend his original readers to understand?

Romans 12:2 with Strong’s Numbers (KJV)

1 I beseech <3870> you <5209> therefore <3767>, brethren <80>, by <1223> the mercies <3628> of God <2316>, that ye present <3936> your <5216> bodies <4983> a living <2198> sacrifice <2378>, holy <40>, acceptable <2101> unto God <2316>, which is your <5216> reasonable <3050> service <2999>. 2 And <2532> be <4964> not <3361> conformed <4964> to this <5129> world <165>: but <235> be ye transformed <3339> by the renewing <342> of your <5216> mind <3563>, that <1519> ye <5209> may prove <1381> what <5101> is that good <18>, and <2532> acceptable <2101>, and <2532> perfect <5046>, will <2307> of God <2316>.

Romans 12:2

2 And <2532> be <4964> not <3361> conformed <4964> to this <5129> world <165>: but <235> be ye transformed <3339> 3339 metamorphoo {metamorfo'o} from 3326 and 3445( See Below); TDNT - 4:755,607; v AV - transfigure 2, transform 1, change 1; 4  1) to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure 1a) Christ appearance was changed and was resplendent with divine brightness on the mount of transfiguration.  For Synonyms see entry 5863 (See Below)


Definition for 3339;  3339 - refers to the permanent state to which a change takes place. 

Definition for 3345; 3345 metaschematizo {metaskhaymatid'zo}’ 3345 - refers to the transient condition from which a change happens from 3326 (See below) and a derivative of 4976; TDNT - 7:957,1129; v AV - transform 2, transfer in a figure 1, transform (one's) self 1, change 1; 5  1) to change the figure of, to transform For Synonyms see entry 5863 (See Below).


Synonyms 5863

Definition for 3339 - refers to the permanent state to which a change takes place

Definition for 3345 - refers to the transient condition from which a change happens


3326 meta {metah'} a primary preposition (often used adverbially); TDNT - 7:766,1102; prep AV - with 345, after 88, among 5, hereafter + 5023 4, afterward + 5023 4, against 4, not tr 1, misc 32; 473

1) with, after, behind

4976 schema {skhay'mah} from the alternate of 2192; TDNT - 7:954,1129; n n AV - fashion 2; 2  1) the habitus, as comprising everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life etc.  For Synonyms see entry 5865 below

Synonyms for 5865


Definition for 3444

Definition for 4976

3444 (See Below) "form" differs from 4976 "figure, shape, fashion", as that which is intrinsic and essential, from that which is outward and accidental. Fritzsche in Php. 2:7 to relate to the complete form or nature of a servant; and 4976 to the external form, or human body in 2:8.

3444 morphe {morfay'} perhaps from the base of 3313 ( See Below) (through the idea of adjustment of parts); TDNT - 4:742,607; n f AV - form 3; 3  1) the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision 2) external appearance.

3313 meros {mer'os} from an obsolete but more primary form of meiromai (to get as a    section or allotment); TDNT - 4:594,585; n n  AV - part 24, portion 3, coast 3, behalf 2, respect 2, misc 9; 43 1) a part  1a) a part due or assigned to one 1b) lot, destiny  2) one of the constituent parts of a whole  2a) in part, partly, in a measure, to some degree, as respects a part, severally, individually 2b) any particular, in regard to this, in this respect.

by the renewing <342>342 anakainosis {anakah'eenosis} from 341 (See Below); TDNT - 3:453,388; n f AV - renewing 2; 2  1) a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better

341 anakainoo {anakaheeno'o}from 303 (See Below) and a derivative of 2537 (See Below) ; TDNT - 3:452,388; v AV - renew 2; 2  1) to cause to grow up, new, to make new  1a) new strength and vigour is given to one  1b) to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state.

303 ana {anah'} a primary prep and adv;; prep AV - by 3, apiece 2, every man 2, each 1, several 1, two and two + 1417 1, among 1, through 1, between 1, by 1, in 1; 15  1) into the midst, in the midst, amidst, among, between.

2537 kainos {kaheenos'} of uncertain affinity; TDNT - 3:447,388; adj AV - new 44; 44 1) new

1a) as respects form  1a1) recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn  1b) as respects substance

1b1) of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of For Synonyms see entry 5852

 of your mind <3563>, 3563 nous {nooce} probably from the base of 1097( See Below); TDNT - 4:951,636; n m AV - mind 21, understanding 3; 24  1) the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and  understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining 1a) the intellectual faculty, the understanding 1b) reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil 1c) the power of considering and judging soberly, calmly and impartially 2) a particular mode of thinking and judging, i.e thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires.

1097 ginosko {ghinoce'ko} a prolonged form of a primary verb; TDNT - 1:689,119; v AV - know 196, perceive 9, understand 8, misc 10; 223  1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel 1a) to become known 2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of   2a) to understand  2b) to know  3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman  4) to become acquainted with, to know.  For Synonyms see entry 5825

that <1519> ye <5209> may prove <1381> 1381 dokimazo {dokimad'zo} from 1384(See Below); TDNT - 2:255,181; v  AV - prove 10, try 4, approve 3, discern 2, allow 2, like 1, examine 1; 23  1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals  2) to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

1384 dokimos {dok'eemos} from 1380; TDNT - 2:255,183; adj AV - approved 6, tried 1; 7 1) accepted, particularly of coins and money. 2) accepted, pleasing, acceptable .

++++ In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into molds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honor who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called "dokimos" or "approved".  Donald Barnhouse

what <5101> is that good <18>, 18 agathos {agathos'} a primary word; TDNT - 1:10,3; adj AV - good 77, good thing 14, that which is good+3588 8, the thing which is good+3588 1, well 1, benefit 1; 102 1) of good constitution or nature  2) useful, salutary  3) good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy  4) excellent, distinguished  5) upright, honorable.

and <2532> acceptable <2101>, and <2532> perfect <5046>, 5046 teleios {tel'ios} from 5056; TDNT - 8:67,1161; adj AV - perfect 17, man 1, of full age 1; 19 1) brought to its end, finished 2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness  3) perfect  4) that which is perfect 4a) consummate human integrity and virtue  4b) of men  4b1) full grown, adult, of full age, mature

 will <2307> of God <2316>.


Figurative: Isa. 34:6; Ezek. 39:17; Zeph. 1:7,8; Rom. 12:1; Phil. 2:17; 4:18. Of self-denial, Phil. 3:7,8. Of praise, Psa. 116:17; Jer. 33:11; Hos. 14:2; Heb. 13:15. Calves of the lips, signifying praise, Hos. 14:2.

1325 didomi {did'omee} a prolonged form of a primary verb (which is used as an altern. in most of the tenses); TDNT - 2:166,166; v AV - give 365, grant 10, put 5, show 4, deliver 2, make 2, misc 25; 413  1) to give  2) to give something to someone  2a) of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage   2a1) to bestow a gift  2b) to grant, give to one asking, let have  2c) to supply, furnish, necessary things  2d) to give over, deliver  2d1) to reach out, extend, present  2d2) of a writing  2d3) to give over to one's care, intrust, commit  2d3a) something to be administered  2d3b) to give or commit to some one something to be religiously observed 2e) to give what is due or obligatory, to pay: wages or reward 2f) to furnish, endue  3) to give  3a) to cause, profuse, give forth from one's self  3a1) to give, hand out lots 3b) to appoint to an office  3c) to cause to come forth, i.e. as the sea, death and Hell are said to give up the dead who have been engulfed or received by them 3c) to give one to someone as his own 3c1) as an object of his saving care 3c2) to give one to someone, to follow him as a leader and master  3c3) to give one to someone to care for his interests 3c4) to give one to someone to whom he already belonged, to return  4) to grant or permit one  4a)to commission  For Synonyms see entry 5836


[1]Robertson, Archibald Thomas, Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention) 1998, c1933.

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