Living Sacrifices

While pondering over some chapters in Paul’s famous letter to the Romans, the popular chapter 12 verse 1 came to mind:

“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.” Rom. 12:1

I’m sure if you are a Christian you have been urged at some point in your Christian life to take up this call Paul gives to the Roman’s. This verse is the start of Paul’s conclusion to the Roman’s. When he says “Therefore”, he is basically saying, “Considering everything I have just said in the previous 11 chapters… I urge you to do the following”. I realized that the practicality of what Paul is trying to say to the Roman’s (and Christians in general) hinges on this very verse. Thus, it’s important to understand what Paul is urging us to do if we are to practically live the Christian life.

So what does Paul urge them to do? He says that we are to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to the Lord.  Now, what does this actually mean? One thing I realized while pondering this verse is the following… There is only one Living Sacrifice. There is only one Holy Sacrifice. His name is Jesus Christ. He was the spotless Lamb that was lead to the slaughter and sacrificed, yet He rose to Life. He is now the one and only Living Sacrifice! Every other sacrifice that was ever offered to God was killed and remained dead. Only Christ rose to life again.

So, the question remains.. How do we present our bodies as living sacrifices? The answer is quite simple actually, but almost always overlooked. To be a living sacrifice with our bodies, we need to be part of His body. He is the one and only living sacrifice, but praise the Lord that we can be part of His glorious body! Paul even says in verse 4 and 5:

“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Rom. 1:4-5

As a many-membered body, we are one in Christ and can be part of the Living Sacrifice to the Lord. What’s profound about this, is to realize that we cannot be living, acceptable, and pleasing sacrifices to the Lord apart from one another and Christ. By presenting ourselves to the Lord, we are giving ourselves over to one another… and only together do we form the Living Sacrifice.

So now, the only question that remains is this: What does this many-membered Living Sacrifice look like and what does it do? For the rest of chapters 12, 13, and 14, Paul explains what it looks like to be part of Christ’s body, the Living Sacrifice. There are so many things Paul says, so I would encourage you to read the chapters for yourself, but I will list a few of them.

He says,

  • Use the gifts God has given you for the exercising and building up of the body. Prohibition of God given gifts actually does a disservice to the body of Christ. (Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Exhorting, Giving, Helping, Mercy)
  • Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
  • Honor others above yourselves.
  • Be passionate in serving and following the Lord.
  • Persevere through trials and tribulations.
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints through love and hospitality.
  • Bless those who persecute you.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. In other words, show empathy and sympathy in all situations.
  • Be of the same mind towards one another, let go of all forms of pride, and even associate with the lowly.
  • Don’t think so highly of yourselves. I.e. learn humility.
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  • Obey the laws of the land.
  • Love one another no matter what.
  • Lay aside and put off all forms of immorality, and put on the armor of light.
  • Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
  • Do not judge one another, especially if a brother or sister is weaker than you. Do not do what will cause a brother or sister to stumble, even if it does not condemn your own conscience.

As you can see, being part of the body of Christ is extremely practical. It’s something that flows out of community. We simply cannot do all these things Paul exhorts us to do on our own or through our own efforts.  It’s only in Him and with one another that we can be part of this Living Sacrifice unto the Lord. Brothers and sisters, being part of this glorious body is an act of worship that is pleasing to our Lord. Therefore, out of love for Him, let us abandon ourselves into His body – The Living Sacrifice.

 

You may also like:

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  • Learning to Lose

     

  • Christ – The Center of All Things

     

  • Christian Unity – What it is and What it’s Not

     

About the author

Nathan Odell Nathan Odell is the author of Joined to Him. You can connect with him on

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