Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Read: Romans 12
Consider: What do the words ‘living sacrifice’ conjure up in your mind? In the Old Testament sacrificial system an animal brought for sacrifice would have been killed and then offered to God by the priest. In Romans 12 Paul is talking about us offering ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Additionally, Paul’s mention of the sacrifice also alludes to Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. Having benefitted from Christ’s sacrifice, we are encouraged to offer ourselves completely to God.
While we are encouraged to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, the emphasis goes beyond the physical body to include our total being – body and soul. The body could refer to every aspect of our life on earth, not just the physical passions. Of course, by offering our bodies to God it carries with it the implications of purity and holiness. It also means living a life that is centred on God’s will, in all the everyday matters of life. This means that every aspect of what we do, think and say should be under the authority of God, as we seek to live in a Christ-like way.
Notice that Paul doesn’t just mention the body, he also mentions that instead of conforming to the world’s standards we should be ‘… transformed by the renewing of your mind’. Have you ever considered the possibility of a makeover? Perhaps you’ve seen television programmes where a person undertakes a makeover of their clothes, or hairstyle. The results can be quite startling and surprising, resulting in the transformation of the individual.
The makeover envisaged by Paul is one that should be equally surprising to those who know us, as it results in the transformation of our minds (a spiritual makeover). The change might even result in people asking us about the difference they have noticed in our behaviour and attitudes.
Pray: Father, we thank you that you have shown us incredible mercy through the atoning sacrifice of your Son. May we be willing to present our whole being to you as a living sacrifice. Help us not to conform to the standards of society, but to be transformed by your Holy Spirit to become the people you want us to be. Amen