A Living Sacrifice
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. (Romans 12:1)
God takes great pleasure in worthy sacrifices. In
the Old Testament God gave detailed instructions for how His people were to
give their offerings. He declared that these brought a “soothing aroma” to Him
(Lev. 1:13, 17). When the Israelites gave an offering to God, it was no longer
their own, it belonged entirely to God. God would accept only the best that
people could give. It was an affront to almighty God to offer Him animals that
were damaged or imperfect in any way. God Himself met the standard for
sacrifices when He offered His own Son as the spotless Lamb. Only the death of
His perfect Son was a worthy enough offering to atone for the sins of mankind.
Now, God asks us to lay down our lives on His altar
as a living sacrifice. Just as it was in the Old Testament, our sacrifice, once
offered, cannot be reclaimed. We belong entirely to Him. We cannot make a
partial sacrifice of our lives; our offering must be wholehearted.
Therefore, if you are a Christian, your life is not
your own. Rather than dying, however, God asks you to live for Him as a living
sacrifice. Every day, you are to offer your life to Him for His service. You do
not serve Him in your spare time or with your leftover resources. The way you
live your life for God is your offering to Him. Relentlessly pursue holiness so
that your offering to God is unblemished and acceptable to Him (Eph. 4:1; Phil.
1:27; 1 Thess. 2:12).