Tuesday, 15 February 2022
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1
In Romans 12 Paul expounds on the practical application or outworking of God’s righteousness in a believer’s life. Paul commences this portion with ‘Therefore’, linking it to the previous 11 chapters where he systematically presented the gospel message, beginning at the root cause – man’s sin that led to separation from God and hence the need for mercy, God’s righteousness in condemning sin and His plan for salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
“Therefore” not out of an obligation, but with a heart of gratitude for God’s mercies towards us, he urges us to present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice. In the Old Testament, God gave specific instructions on how the Israelites were to offer animal sacrifices to Him which was an aroma pleasing to the Lord (Leviticus 1:1-17). The Old Testament sacrifices were a foreshadow of the perfect sacrifice that God Himself gave the world for the remission of sins – His beloved Son - Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who bore our sins and punishment. Now for all who have been saved by grace through faith our response to God’s tender mercies is to become a living sacrifice.
What is God’s expectation of us as ‘a living and holy sacrifice’?
A Willing Sacrifice: Just as Christ Jesus willingly submitted to the Father’s plan by becoming the perfect sacrifice for us (Phil.2:8), we are to make a conscious decision in willing surrender of ourselves to the Father’s will.
A Holy Sacrifice: Our God is holy and He expects His children to be holy. God’s standards of holiness required Christ, the Passover Lamb without spot or blemish (1Peter1:19) to be sacrificed for the atonement for the sins of mankind. Similarly, we are called to be holy, presenting ourselves as dedicated, sanctified for God’s service (1 Peter 1:16).
A Daily Sacrifice: Just as the lambs were sacrificed daily (Exodus 29:38-39), we being a sacrifice has to be a daily commitment. We are to daily forgo every desire of the self to focus on bringing glory to the Master.
A Complete Sacrifice: God the Father, in His love for us, did not withhold His only Son from us (Romans 8:32) and Christ did not consider His life of more worth than saving us. When we grasp the magnitude of our Lord’s love, we will give all that we are, presenting all our members and faculties to the Lord – to be a complete, encompassing sacrifice.
In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs us on how we can become ‘a living and holy Sacrifice’. He says, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” What is conformity with the world? Simply put- it is following the ways of the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1John 2:16). These are what draws a man away from God!
Instead ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,’ which is a believer’s transformation into Christ-likeness: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Cor.3:18). This transformation is a continuous process. This transformation happens by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Romans 8:5). Further, this transformation is essential for a disciplined Christian life. This transformation occurs when we meditate on God’s word, store it in our hearts and yield to the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us every moment.
Let us desire to live as transformed people with renewed minds, living in obedience to the Father’s will, offering ourselves as a living sacrifice for His service!
Prayer: Father GOD, with a humble heart I offer myself as living and holy sacrifice, set apart for You. Mould me and use me as You will. In Jesus’ name. Amen