Subtopic: Offer Your Bodies as Living Sacrifices
Text: Romans 12:1-2
In view of God’s mercy, you are to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices.” As Paul puts it elsewhere, we are to glorify God in our body (1 Corinthians 6:20). Our body is to be used to give thanks to God for His wondrous mercy in Christ.
What does it mean to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices”? Right away we can discount the obvious. Paul is not telling us to become blood offerings, to kill or be killed like the sheep offered at the Temple each day. We know that with the one sacrifice of Christ good for all times, no further blood offering is necessary (Hebrews 10).
What Paul means becomes clear when we look at the following words. Paul tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, “holy and pleasing to God.” It is clear what God wants: on the negative side, He doesn’t want us to use our bodies for sin; on the positive side, He wants us to use our bodies only for what is good, pleasing and perfect; in other words, He wants us to engage in holy living.
I want you to listen very carefully to what Paul says about this earlier in Romans 6:12-13… do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (13) Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Did you hear that? “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness …” What is Paul talking about here? Paul lived in a world filled with sexual immorality. Parties in which guests drank themselves into an alcoholic stupor were very common. Men and women dressed in such a way that could only be described as immodest. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” In other words, keep away from such sins.
On the positive side, our bodies are to be “instruments of righteousness.” This means our lifestyle is to show that we are a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. It means that everyone ought to recognize you as a Christian by the way you live. It means that you serve God in daily life. It means you use your body to do good and loving deeds.
In view of God’s mercy, Paul also says Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Do you conform to this world or are you transformed? Do you merely register and reflect the ways of the world or do you dare to stand out and be different?
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” In other words, we are not to be like a thermometer which merely registers or reflects what is going on around it.
This is not easy. It is so easy to conform, to go along with the crowd, to do what everyone else is doing. At one time or another every parent hears it: “But everybody is doing it!” “But everyone has one!” “I’m the only one who can’t” “I’m the only one who has to be home by 11.” Even though the whole world may do something that does not make it right for the Christian. It’s difficult for parents and teenagers not to conform to the pattern of this world. Yet, in response to God’s mercy, we must be different.
Posted by Fay-Ann Swearing
January 2, 2014
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