In this passage, Paul commands his audience to respond to the doctrine that he has just taught in the previous part of the book. He begins with the word, “therefore,” indicating that he is introducing the implication of something previously mentioned. That which he has previously mentioned is the mercy of God. However, it is more than one mercy, but “mercies,” meaning blessings that are given to believers because of God’s mercy toward them. Mercy is the withholding of something that is deserved. Therefore, Paul is referring to the blessings that come from being saved from God’s eternal wrath.
Thus, Paul urges the brethren, or brothers and sisters, to present their bodies as holy sacrifices that are acceptable to God. The word, “present,” can be taken to mean placing something upon an altar. This comports with Paul’s assertion that presenting one’s body to God as a holy and acceptable sacrifice is one’s service of worship. In other words, the way in which believers are to worship God is by presenting their bodies as holy, or set apart, for Him.
In addition, Paul commands his audience not to allow themselves to be conformed to this world, or evil way of living and thinking, but to be transformed by having their minds continually made new. The purpose of this is to prove what God’s will is, which is good, or consistent with God’s character, acceptable, or consistent with God’s commands, and perfect.
In verse 3, Paul gives an implication of the command to have one’s mind renewed: not thinking of oneself more highly than one ought, but thinking of oneself correctly. This should be in accordance with the recognition that each believer has some faith.
In verse 4, Paul explains that the church is like a body, which has many members, which do not all function in the same way. Thus, the church is Christ’s body, and the members of it are the members of His body. Therefore, since the body consists of members with different gifts, each member is to exercise his or her gift. If one has the gift of prophecy, or preaching, he is to preach according to the amount of faith that he has. If one has the gift of service, he or she is to serve. If one is gifted to teach, one is to teach. If one is gifted to exhort, he is to exhort. If one is gifted in giving, he is to give liberally. If one is gifted in leadership, he is to lead with diligence. If one is gifted to be merciful, he is to show mercy with cheerfulness.