Living, Holy and Acceptable
Sacrifice to God
“The only problem with a living sacrifice is it wants to
crawl off the altar.”
The Christian’s sacrifice is to be a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice to
The apostle Paul wrote, "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).
These words in the New Testament give an urgent, earnest appeal to all
believers in Christ. “I urge you” is an earnest exhortation and encouragement
based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The apostle’s urgent appeal is based on everything he has written in the
first eleven chapters of Romans. Live constantly with the Gospel message you
have heard and believed. Every born again believer is under obligation to be
obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ and live in a manner of life becoming
to God’s saving grace.
Because we have been justified by Christ and are in union with Him, I exhort
you to live according to that new relationship to God. We cannot find a
stronger reason for such an exhortation.
As Christians we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable unto God.
The true Christian obeys God because of what God has done for him in Christ. We obey Him out of gratitude for what He has done for us. We obey Him because
we love Him, and we love Him because He first loved us and died for us on the
All that God has done for the believing sinner in justification,
sanctification, and our ultimate glorification is God’s saving grace, and not
because of any merit of ours or human efforts. God in His great mercy has saved
us, and it is on the basis of that fact that Paul admonishes us to present our
bodies as living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice to God.
Since God has been abundantly merciful to us, let us therefore offer a living
sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to Him.
Only the true Christian who has been saved by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus
Christ can respond to this call to be a “living sacrifice.” He offered to God
the one perfect sacrifice for sins once and for all. There is no need for any
other atoning sacrifice for sin, and there can be no other atoning sacrifice
because we are sinners. Only the perfect life of Christ would ever be
acceptable to a holy and righteous God. God has dealt with our sin problem once
and for all, and all that is required of the sinner is to believe on Christ as
Our bodies are to be “living” sacrifices, not slain. We give back to God our
bodies that have been made alive from the dead and sanctified to His service.
The apostle Paul used a technical term (paristemi) in the language of
sacrifice. We are to offer, bring and present to God our bodies as living
sacrifices. The Levitical victims and offerings were offered facing the Holy of
Holies in the Jewish temple. In contrast to the bloody sacrifices of death that
reminded men of “the wages of sin,” the Christian gives himself as a “living”
offering to God.
The emphasis of this verse is on presenting to God our bodies as a free and
voluntary offering. We must offer to God bodies that are holy, separated from
the world, reserved for God’s use alone.
There is no doubt that the apostle Paul has in mind, not just our physical
bodies, but out entire person, body, mind, and soul. We are to make ourselves
available to Him for His eternal purposes.
Paul makes his appeal for godly living based on God’s mercy who in His
compassion sent His Son to die for our sins.
Our “bodies” are now to be the instruments of His grace and mercy instead of
being yielded as instruments of sin. "Therefore do not let sin reign in your
mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members
of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to
God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of
righteousness to God" (Romans 6:12-13).
“Let us not continue to sin,” but “present your bodies a living sacrifice
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” We are
commanded to let this become a habitual practice.
How do we put this great admonition into practice? It begins with a once and
for all commitment of our whole person to God as a living sacrifice. I choose
to give myself to Jesus Christ. I now belong to Him. It is a volitional choice
I make freely of my own accord. If you have never given yourself to Jesus
Christ, please do now.
Then it becomes simple for us to begin every day with a renewal of that
commitment. Before your feet hit the floor, give your day to the LORD God.
“Lord Jesus, this day belongs to you. Please come and take me and live your
life through me. Let your name be glorified in me today.”
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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