A Call to Commitment
When asked to explain the impact of his life, William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army, replied in one striking phrase: “Jesus Christ has all of me.”
There was nothing presumptuous or proud in that response. It was simply the only way Booth could explain why it was that he, an ordinary man of insubstantial means, had been used in such a remarkable way and had had such a remarkable impact at that particular point in history.
What would it mean for Jesus Christ to have all of you?
At the beginning of Romans 12, after eleven glorious chapters celebrating the salvation from sin that God wrought at the cross and His sovereign mercy in electing a people for Himself, Paul issues the call to those who are trusting Christ to commit 100 percent of themselves—body, mind, and spirit—to the Lord Jesus Christ. The word he uses for “appeal” here comes from the Greek logikos, which gives us our word “logical.” In other words, his exhortation is not based on emotion or manipulation. Rather, Paul is making a rational, urgent entreaty to his readers, all on the strength of God’s mercy.
There is no dimension of our humanity that is not affected by our willful rebellion against God. Yet by His mercy, God doesn’t count His people’s sins against them, and He has withheld the condemnation we deserve. Instead, He has taken our sins and counted them against His only beloved Son.
If we ignore the “by the mercies of God” part out of this appeal, we immediately go wrong. This is a call to people who have received God’s enabling grace to offer up their lives—not so they might be accepted but on account of the fact that they are already accepted. This plea is for those of us who have already been set free by grace to become all that God intends for us to be, wholly devoted to Him.
God doesn’t ask us to offer our money or possessions. He wants us to offer not less than these, but more: our very selves. All that we are, all that we think, all that we feel, all that we do, and all that we know—offering this to the God who has given His Son for us is the only logical response to His mercy. When we give all of ourselves to God, all our capacities, as limited as they are, can be used for His glory and purposes. The Christian life comes with no option for half measures or holding back. It is an all-in life.
There is something glorious about the kind of commitment that says, “I’m putting the whole thing in.” If you will go all in, then there’s no limit to what will happen in and through you. Will you be the kind of person who can say, “Jesus Christ has all of me”?
19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
27Only let your manner of life be worthy8 of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
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