1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer 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. (NIV 1984)
We’re not a culture that is thrilled with the idea of sacrifice. We actually thrive on the opposite. We have an abundance of abundance. So, when it comes to the idea of sacrifice, we’re quick to shy away. Even if we don’t shy away, I doubt we truly understand what is meant.
And that’s the significance of this passage for us today. As we look at God’s mercy and see his amazing, incomparable love for us we ought to respond by offering our bodies as living sacrifices. Well, what does it mean to sacrifice?
If we look at it from an Old Testament point of view, it means to give up your life. At least in the sense that they would offer animal sacrifices. Jesus gave his life and every last drop of blood he had to be that permanent sacrifice for us. So, even though we don’t need to shed the blood of a lamb, we still need to offer a sacrifice.
We do this with our lives.
When we are in a state of surrender, we are being a sacrifice. When we are doing our part to live holy lives, we are being a sacrifice. When we are denying ourselves for the sake of what is best for the Kingdom of God, we are being a sacrifice.
When we think only of ourselves, we aren’t being a sacrifice. When we ignore the community we are supposed to be a part of, we aren’t being a sacrifice. When we don’t worship with our lives we aren’t being a sacrifice.
Aside from being called to live as sacrifices, what other significance does being a sacrifice hold?
When we are living sacrifices and no longer conforming to the ways of this world but we are being transformed with new minds and ways of thinking we will be able to know what God’s will is for us. How many times have you wondered to yourself, “What is God’s will for my life?” I don’t know the answer to that, but I know if you want to be able to find the answer – you must be offering your body as a living sacrifice.
So, I encourage you to memorize this verse, not just to check it off. But, to let it serve as a reminder to what motivates you. We don’t just sacrifice because we are told to. We sacrifice because Christ gave his all for us. We sacrifice because we want to live lives that are acceptable of that sacrifice that Christ made. We want our lives to count and the only way they will count is if we are doing what God has in mind for us to do.