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From Doctrine to Duty: Living Sacrifices

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Romans 12:1)

When Paul introduces Romans 12 with the word, “therefore,” he ushers in the expected consequences of what he has just discussed in the first eleven chapters. He has presented the gospel of Jesus Christ and the undeserved favor that God gives to those who believe.

Recipients of such grace must present their bodies as living sacrifices in response to His incalculable mercy and grace.

To be a living sacrifice means to offer up our whole selves—our bodies, minds, and hearts—to the purposes of God. Christians desire to serve Christ with their whole being because they have been purchased by His precious blood.

As living sacrifices we continually dedicate ourselves to the service of the Lord, not in a passive act of yielding, but in an active offering of our whole selves to Christ’s work. That kind of life is our “spiritual service of worship.” In other words, our whole lives—even the seemingly mundane tasks—will be lived in worship to Christ.

This call to be a living sacrifice does not contradict the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. His work was indeed enough to save us completely from the wrath of God (Rom 5:9). There is nothing more a man must do to attain salvation, because those who are saved stand fully justified before God.

But those whom God has chosen must also be sanctified, set apart, and made holy (1 Pet 1:15-16; cf. Matt 5:48; Eph 1:4, 5:27).

The slain sacrifices of the Old Testament foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death was sufficient to fully atone for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. He died, but rose again.

As Christians, we respond to our living Master with a living sacrifice.

Is that evident in your life?