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The following is the passage used to say that there is a spiritual act of worship:

Romans 12:1-2 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. (KJV)

Notice that verse one does not say “spiritual service, or “spiritual act of worship”, as some versions have it. The Greek literally says, “I am inviting (parakaleo – to call near or invite) then, you brothers, through the pities of the God, to stand/proffer/be at hand, the bodies of you (your bodies) sacrifice (act or victim, literal or figurative), living, holy, fully agreeable, to the God, the logical ministration/latreia (or “divine” service) of you (your)….” And so on.

(From the Thayer and Smith Greek Lexicon, latreia: service rendered for hire – any service or ministration: the service of God – the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law – to perform sacred services)

The word spiritual is not even there.

The passage draws its language from the old type of service under the law, after the flesh. But by the mercies of God, it is reasonable to present ourselves to Him – for we are wholly His.

Notice that it also says, “living”. It’s a new and living way we are walking in. Not the way of death, but life. We “surrender” to God’s way, the living way, and the only sacrifice we can logically bring is our living selves – our hearts and our hands and our feet. Lively stones of God’s building.

We are in the spirit if we are Christ’s. We are therefore spiritual, before we “do” anything else!

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord…

Romans 8:9-10 – But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Those who are Christ’s are spiritual, the old man being dead.

We all may not be mature, but we are all spiritual because our very nature has been changed – we are a new creation. Everything we do is actually spiritual. God fully accepts our acts done by our living flesh, for we are accepted in Christ.

I like it put this way: Romans 12:3 – (The Message) I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

Here is another, grace-based, take on that passage.  Paul is inviting them, because of God’s grace given by His mercies (he just spent 11 chapters talking about grace) to be ready as flesh and blood human bodies, to serve in the temple made without hands (for elsewhere it is written that God is not served by human hands).

In other words, we serve in the body of Christ, we who are now living in newness of life, with him working through us. The rest of the passage is the result of what the grace-walk looks like. 

It isn’t true spirituality to do anything in order to be spiritual; it will only fail. True spirituality is recognizing and acknowledging that we are already spiritual – and then walking in it.


Steps to Spirituality?

1. Be born of the spirit

Gee, it seems like there aren’t any others…..

Romans 8:1-9 (Young’s Literal Translation – modified)

1 There is, then, now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; 2 for the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus did set me free from the law of the sin error (of Adam) and of the death; 3 for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful (man’s) error-prone flesh, and for sin error, did condemn the sin error in the flesh, 4 that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh, the things of the flesh do mind; and those according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; 6 for the mind of the flesh [is] death, and the mind of the Spirit — life and peace; 7 because the mind of the flesh [is] enmity to God, for to the law of God it doth not subject itself, 8 for neither is it able; and those who are in the flesh are not able to please God. 9 And ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God doth dwell in you; and if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ — this one is not His;

Romans 8:6 (Easy-to-Read Version – modified)

If a person’s thinking is controlled by his sinful self, then there is spiritual* death. But if a person’s thinking is controlled by the Spirit, then there is life and peace.

*The Greek word is zoe, and the original wording does not support the insertion of the word, “spiritual”.

“Spiritual death” is not a scriptural concept. It is a construct of man’s theology, misunderstanding the penalty of death that was put on mankind in Eden.

What’s that mean, anyhow, to say “No” to the world? Are Christians supposed to say no to the world – the kosmos, the system of the world? What did John mean when he wrote, “For God so loved the world (kosmos) that He gave His only begotten Son…. (Jn 3:16)”?

And what did John mean in his first letter, when he wrote this?

1Jo 2:15-17 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world…..

God loved the world, but we can’t love the world, or the love of the Father is not in us. Hmmmm.

James says a similar thing: Jas 4:4 – You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Then there is Peter:

1Pe 5:9 – But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

2Pe 1:4 – For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

By “world” Peter means the Jews. The use of kosmos isn’t as narrow as we may think. We have the world system, created by God. We have the lust of the world, and the flesh, and the devil. We have the Jewish non-believers. Clearly, we should not hate what God created, called “good”, and came to redeem.

But we should not love the ungodly systems by which men govern themselves.

So, are we to turn our backs on the world, deny it, because we want to be spiritual? In fact, can we do this, seeing as we are to be in the world, but not of it? This is of course a bit of a trick question. Think about it. How do we become spiritual, and how do we know we are walking in the spirit?

We are no longer a part of this world system, because we are now in the kingdom of God. We walk in the spirit now. We don’t “turn our backs on the world” because we are not of the world – we are taken out of that system and placed into God’s!

1Jo 4:4-5 – You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.

2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

Eph 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,

Eph 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

Col 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

We are called to actively bring His kingdom into the kosmos!

It was Jesus who said to pray that the Father’s kingdom come and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are in it now!

Are we bringing the good news of the kingdom to the world? It’s more than preaching, but it is a message confirmed by signs. Physical healing is one sign that is promised to follow those that believe. It’s not a full message without the signs.

Say no to the world?

How can we say no, or yes, to something we have no part in?

We are dead to the kosmos – how can we then have any relationship to it?

God's influence in our hearts

God’s gift to us – His divine influence in our hearts. This is based on the many meanings of the Greek word, charis. And also on the verb form. It is usually translated gift, or grace. But it is so much more. Note the similarity to the fruit of the spirit! It’s almost as though there is a very direct connection between the Holy Spirit and grace….

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah means rest, as in to settle down in a location. We who believe enter God’s rest, and we have been given grace. Interesting……

Come As You Are

He’s not mad at you
And He’s not disappointed
His grace is greater still
Than all of your wrong choices

He is full of mercy
And He is ever kind
Hear His invitation
His arms are open wide

You can come as you are
With all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
The pain you hold in your heart
Bring it all to Jesus
You can come as you are

Louder than the voice
That whispers you’re unworthy
Hear the sound of love
That tells a different story

Shattering your darkness
And pushing through the lies
How tenderly He calls you
His arms are open wide

(2009 Word Music LLC, Pocket Full of Rocks Publishing ASCAP)

Don’t listen to the naysayers, who want to put people under condemnation, or the guilt that comes from the law of Moses, or any man made religious rule. These lyrics are truth.

God is not mad at you.

He’s not even disappointed. He knows you, and will walk with you, all the days of your life. He sent His Son Jesus to rescue the humanity that He loves. He did it by all the mystery of His death and resurrection, under the harsh law of the Moses, becoming the second Adam.

In Him, we are blameless and have eternal life, the penalty of death being paid by. We die, but we inherit eternal, resurrection life. In effect, Jesus gave us back to us, and to Himself. And in Jesus, if we have believed in Him, we live and move and have our being. We can know we have eternal life because of what is written and because we have that witness in our hearts that He lives in us.

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