Romans 12:1 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.
Yesterday we listened to our pastor walk through the great promise of God's mercy to those who have trusted in His work of salvation through His Son...and we also learned about our responsibility...our "reasonable service" to make Him number one in our lives. I was struck especially by the two words: "living sacrifice". It almost seems a contradiction...an oxymoron...to consider a living sacrifice. Sacrificing something usually means to kill it in the offering process...to give up something living that could have been a source of food, clothing or trade to honor or make amends before the Almighty. So how could such a thing as a "living sacrifice" exist. And then I realized that we have a dual track identity. We are physical and we are spiritual. We are of this world and we are of another world, as well. To be a living sacrifice must have something to do with putting the natural man...ruled by the fleshly influences of this world...down so that the eternal, spiritual man destined for Heaven might emerge.
Romans 12: 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
It seems that, as living sacrifices, we have the choice each day of dying to self so that the Lord can fill our thoughts, change our ways and show Himself to others who are still ruled by the ways of the natural life. He showed us the way when He sent Jesus to totally lay down His natural life and demonstrate the reality and superiority of the eternal life, by rising from natural death. We are living sacrifices when we chose to live in Him and for Him and with Him despite all the other forces that seek to rule us. Something must die if life is to prevail.