A Living Sacrifice – Romans 12:1-2

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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About four months after trusting in Christ, this writer was challenged, and specifically asked, to dedicate the rest of his life to the Lord. This was not emotionalism. It was a positive biblical encouragement to make a conscious decision to give my life to Christ in a dedicated way.

The Apostle Paul told us to do this very thing when he wrote, “I beseech ye therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). A beautiful illustration from the Old Testament is being used here. The word “present” has the connotation of an intentional act of bringing a gift to the Lord as an act of worship and devotion, with no thought of ever taking it back. From this point on, that gift belongs to the Lord. Paul is picturing our need to give ourselves irrevocably to the Lord and see ourselves as belonging to Him. The word “sacrifice” refers to a consecrated or dedicated present, voluntarily given to the Lord. God would accept nothing less than a perfect animal brought to be consumed as a burnt sacrifice. Ultimately, this offering pictured the pure, sinless, perfect sacrifice of the body of the Lord Jesus for the sins of all mankind. But Paul also used this example to picture the purity in body expected of all believers who dedicate themselves to the Lord. This is why Paul specifies that our bodies are to be “holy, acceptable unto God” (vs. 1). When an animal was offered to the Lord, nothing was held back. The entire body of the animal was given to God to be consumed in fire, with the exception of a small portion used by the priests in the service of the Lord. Likewise, believers need to give themselves to the Lord with nothing held back. Note that we are to be an offering that now lives for Him. Paul emphasizes that offering ourselves to the Lord in this way is our “reasonable service” and cannot properly be done while being “conformed to this world” (vs. 2). Instead, we need to be seeking to be “transformed” each day into a better image of Christ.

This concept is just as important as any other instruction in Paul’s letters. Have you ever consciously presented your body and life to the Lord as an act of worship, surrender, and dedication? If you haven’t, would you do so right now?

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."