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, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
An old saying is necessary here to correctly understand the meaning that the Apostle Paul is conveying, "when you see 'therefore' you need to find the reason that it is there for." So why is it the fourth word seeing it is a connection to prior information? The preceding three chapters discuss the removal of Israel as the primary witness to the world due to their hardness of heart towards God's plan of redemption that is revealed in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, they were "pruned" from the tree of salvation as a nation for the time period of the church age. In their stumbling over the rock of offense, Jesus Himself, God made provision for the mostly gentile church to be grafted in. God is not finished with Israel as a nation! There are clear promises outlining the national revival that will accompany the return of Messiah. Also, this does not prevent individuals from salvation who will heed the call of Christ as many Jews have done throughout the last two thousand years. This concept of their fall bringing salvation to all is summarized in a discourse containing this verse, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off (Romans 11:22)." Notice that last phrase? This is the reason that the "therefore" is there for.
Seeing that God will deal severely with His children if needs be for the purposes of redemption, Paul warns "therefore" to offer yourself as a living sacrifice. This is not to earn salvation! It is the REASONABLE thing to do in the face of such grace and severity for your sake. It is a reminder about the awesome price of God's grace. Jesus suffered terribly that you might be saved. The price He paid personally was astounding. In view of this great work given freely on your behalf, the sensible thing to do is to totally and completely surrender to His Lordship. It is the primary act of service and worship God is looking for. Add to this the statements made by all of the writers of the New Testament and you clearly get the picture that God wishes for us to entirely surrender ourselves.
Think of the words of Paul in this passage from the first verse of Romans, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ..." Not even his position as an apostle was as important as his position as a servant to the Lord. Furthermore, there can be no ministry for Christ that does not stem from the priority of servitude! This is why many of the New Testament writers mention that they are servants first and foremost. Consider the following examples:
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,..." 2 Peter 1:1
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,..." James 1:1
"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,..." Jude 1:1
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:..." Revelation 1:1
Of these, James and Jude are most interesting, Being the children of Mary and Jesus' half-brothers, they dare not mention their relationship to Him. To His own family, being a servant of Christ was the appropriate position, the top priority, and the reasonable response. So where does that leave us? It should leave us at His feet desiring to accomplish His will and purposes seeing that He is Soon 2 Come!