Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
How should one who calls himself a Christian live out their faith? That is the question Paul is addressing here in the first verses of Romans 12. For 11 verses he is sharing what the condition of man is. He lays out the Gospel message and how Christ triumphs over sin and death. He talks of the inclusion of the Gentiles and the hardening of the Jews and in chapter 11 he caps it off with the future of Israel.
He begins by saying, in light of all that has been said, present yourself as a living sacrifice. Back in the day the sacrifices were killed and presented to God, so to be a living sacrifice was foreign to his hearers. And to you an me, we aren’t accustomed to ritual sacrifices so to be a living sacrifice doesn’t hold a lot of meaning to us either.
The term sacrifice here means the act of offering. Paul is instructing us to offer our bodies to Christ in a acceptable way that is pleasing to Him. This is our form of worship and adoration back to Christ.
To be a living sacrifice is to recognize that since Christ died for me, I then shall live for Him. But we have so many distraction… Work life, entertainment, activities with the kids, and so forth keep us from any form of sacrifice for Christ. In order for us to “give of ourselves” we need to eliminate the clutter that keeps us from intimate fellowship with Christ.
Paul helps us to do this. “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
When we spend our lives pursuing non-essentials we have little time to renew our minds in Christ. I often hear people say they are wondering what God’s will is for their life. Paul says clearly a good place to start is to cut away the world from your life. As a surgeon cuts away disease, we too must cut away the distractions that keep us from being a living sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:15-16; 1Peter 4:2; 1John 2:15
What are you going to do today to live as a living sacrifice to God? What things will need to change?
Lord, help me to remove the non-essentials in my life that keep me from being a living sacrifice. Amen