Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
What does God mean when He asks us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice? Can we die as a sacrifice and yet remain alive? In a spiritual sense, yes.
Old Testament Jews knew all about sacrifices and offerings. Virtually every aspect of life, whether secular or spiritual, was tied into Israel's system of worship. Sacrificial animals (often an unblemished lamb) were placed on the altar and consumed by fire. They were intended to express the worshiper's total dedication and consecration and brought reconciliation with God.
In the New Testament, Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), gave Himself as a sacrificial offering in complete consecration and surrender to the will of God. Because He was sinless, He did not need reconciliation with God. His sacrifice was intended to reconcile mankind to God.
In light of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, we are exhorted today to make our own offering. We are to offer our body—which represents the sum total of who we are, all that we have, and all that we do. Unlike the Old Testament believers who offered animals, we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to be consumed and used by God for His glory.
Offering ourselves to God is not just giving up our spare evenings or a Sunday morning, but the whole of our lives to Him. It means giving up our plans, our money, our family, everything that has any significance at all to us. Everything is given over to Him, entrusted completely into His care.
If we claim to be followers of Christ while holding on to certain areas of our life, we have not understood that the fully surrendered life is to be the norm for every Christian. It is a process of a daily sacrificing of who we are and what we do, in order to live in complete dependence on the One who sacrificed so much for us.
Heavenly Father, In view of Your mercy toward me, I offer myself afresh to You as a living sacrifice. Spend my life in Your service as You see fit. Amen.
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