Paul says: "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" (Rom. 12:1).
The Romans were familiar with sacrifices. Both Jews and Gentiles
offered sacrifices and it is probable that many of the Christians
there had offered sacrifices in the past. Since we are not familiar
with sacrifices, let me suggest four steps to offering a sacrifice
from Genesis 22.
God called Abraham and commanded: "Take now your son, your
only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and
offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which
I shall tell you" (Gen. 22:2). Let me suggest these four steps
for Abraham to present his sacrifice:
1) Receive the word of God:
2) Prepare the sacrifice:
vs. 3 rose early in morning, saddled donkey, took two young
men, split the wood, went to the place
vs. 4 traveled for three days
vs. 5-6 went to worship; leave lads behind
vs. 7-8 Abraham trusted God to provide the sacrifice
vs. 9 built alter, placed wood, bound Isaac, laid him on alter
3)Kill the sacrifice:
4) Present (offer) the sacrifice:
These four steps of presenting a sacrifice are not unlike the sacrifice
of ourselves to God. Abraham offered Isaac by faith (Heb. 11:17).
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17);
therefore, Abraham heard God's command and resolved to obey because
of faith. We too offer ourselves as sacrifices according to the
word of God; therefore, the sacrifice is holy and acceptable to
God (Rom. 12:1).
Like Abraham, we must also prepare the sacrifice. Unless we make
preparation, we do not have a holy body to present. We must repent
of our sins - turning from sin to God. It took time, energy, work,
and financial resources for Abraham to prepare to sacrifice and
it takes the same for us. No one has committed themselves to God
without committing his resources. And it also took perseverance
and steadfastness on the part of Abraham to travel three days to
Moriah. We do not change into a perfect and holy sacrifice overnight.
We too must persevere with all steadfastness to present our bodies
holy and acceptable to God.
Thirdly, the sacrifice must be killed. There are three respects
in which a sacrifice is killed so that we may present our bodies
holy and acceptable to God: 1) Jesus had to die as a propitiation
Rom. 3:25; 2) we must die with Christ in baptism, putting to death
the old man, raising in newness of life Rom. 6:3-6; 3) we must die
daily 1 Cor. 15:31.
Fourth, we must present the sacrifice. The sacrifice that we present
is our body - transformed from the world of sin to the will of God.
We are a special people, a royal priesthood and hence we offer spiritual
sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5): the fruit of our lips in praise and thanksgiving;
and the doing of good (Heb. 13:15-16). All that we do should be
according to the will of God; therefore, a presentation of a holy
and acceptable body which is our reasonable service.
Are you presenting your body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable
to God? If not, begin transforming your body today by the renewing
of your mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.