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Monday, August 25, 2014

Present your bodies as a Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1 states:  I appeal to you therefore, brethren,  by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

‘Present your bodies as a living sacrifice’… What does this mean?
What are we doing when we are presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice?

In seminary, my classmates and I discovered during a bible study that knowing the Greek adds greater meaning for this passage: all of you (plural), each and every one of you, offer/present your bodies as a (ONE) living sacrifice (singular). We see that this commendation is made to the community of faith, telling us to unite as one in our offerings and worship. The presentation of our bodies is about our devotional offerings to the Lord. We are not to make burnt offerings but to join together in our reverence for the Lord as an offering and expression of our lives. Our sacrifice is to be Living  in the sense that we can use all that we are and all that we have (our time, treasure and talent) in our offerings joined into one Living Sacrifice. Our worship and offering is a Sacrifice  which means it is a sacred offering that truly costs us something of our time, effort, and commitment in using our God-given gifts as a thankoffering returned to the Lord in our worship of Him. We are to remember that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and that we are to spiritually join together as one spiritual household in our offerings. You can see that this worship-filled activity of presenting our bodies needs to occur daily, throughout our lives and therefore not just on a Sunday morning… Finally, we need to remember that the only truly acceptable offering to God is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. This means that we need to learn how to join our efforts with each other and with the Lord’s One Offering as we present our bodies as a living sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Peter 2:4-5  Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; 5 and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

Here are a few other relevant passages:
 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?  If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
Hebrews 13:15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Ps. 51 :17  The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Here is the passage in its context:                     ROMANS 12:1-8
1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren,  by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.
 4 For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.