Posts Tagged ‘Romans 12:1’

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

When I read this passage from Romans chapter 12, I can almost smell the incense burning in the Sanctuary. It presents us with images that should conjure up the bronze altar of sacrifice in the court of the Holy Sanctuary (Temple) in Jerusalem.

Paul, the Apostle and author of the book of Romans was an observant Jew as well as a Pharisee (expert in the study of Torah). These are not accidental words or images he gave us. His life before meeting Jesus on the Damascus road (See Acts 9) was organized around the feasts, offerings and prayers in the Sanctuary. After watching the Priests and Levites prepare and offer up thousands of offerings of sheep, goats, rams, pigeons, and turtle doves, he couldn’t help but know that offerings were acts of worship to God.

This was not a sacrifice; however, to atone for sin. Jesus was the once-for-all sacrifice. No further offerings for sin are necessary. Rather this was a sacrifice in order to fellowship with God–a peace offering like those spoken of in Leviticus chapter 3.

The sacrifice God is requiring from us is a living sacrifice. We will offer God living sacrifices because He has given us new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians5:17) In asking for a living sacrifice, God is giving us a choice. A living sacrifice must choose to stay on the altar. The life must be given–not taken. Jesus is the model of such a sacrifice in John 10:18, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

The sacrifice must also be holy. Holy means set apart for God, not profaned or contaminated. The sacrifice must also be acceptable to God. I think this is where folks sometimes get off track. They offer to God what they want to offer to God with no consideration of what God wants or what God has said about worship in His Word. This is a big mistake. God has standards of a worthy sacrifice. We must meet those standards. Consider some of the things God says about being acceptable before Him.

First of all, we must be obedient. (1 Samuel 15:22, John 14:15, 1 John 5:2-3). We must also be merciful. (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 5:7; 9:13) We must come before God with clean hands and pure hearts. (Psalm 24:3-4) We must approach God through Jesus, our Mediator. (John 14:6) These and the other requirements laid out in the Word of God are what make us acceptable to God. We must meet His standards–not the standards of men or the standards of our own minds.

Here are some other posts on Romans 12: My Reasonable ServiceRomans 12: Acceptable to GodRomans 12: Holy?Romans 12: How shall I present my body? ,Romans 12: Presenting your bodyDoes God require me to be holy?

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Moving Forward

Moving Forward

    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

Paul’s passion for those in the body of Christ is evident in the opening phrase of Romans 12 where he beseeches or urges us to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

If we are to do this presentation of our bodies (our lives) to God, it will have to be by the mercies of God. That is to say that God will be and is the power behind and the heart behind our desiring to dedicate our bodies (lives) to pleasing God.

He calls us to present our bodies–a voluntary action, a volitional choice–I (we) must make to be set apart for (holy) and pleasing to God.

The sacrifice I am to make is my body–and that is really all that I have to give to God.
Under the law, it is understood that in order to cover sin, to be holy and acceptable to God, a death must occur–more specifically, blood must be shed. Leviticus 11:17 instructs us blood makes atonement for the soul.

The sacrifice that I must present under the new covenant, established by Jesus and stamped with His authority as God by His resurrection, is to die to my flesh, to my own desires. This death to self will allow the Spirit of God to reign in my body. My life will then evidence the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, namely love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control.

Paul finishes by saying this is my reasonable service. I am a bond servant of God, and in light of what He has done for me, it a small thing for me to give my life–my sacrifice–to Him.

As Paul said in Romans 6:19, [f]or just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

We will be a slave to something. Paul makes it clear who we are to serve and what is required–nothing less than everything.

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