A Living Sacrifice
Sacrifice is a tough word in our culture. When the writers of the Bible penned this word, it meant something entirely different. In our culture, we view sacrifice at times as giving up a trip to Starbucks or some other comfort in order to choose something else. In Biblical culture, sacrifice meant the loss of life. A transaction to cover the penalty for disobeying the law. Something gave its very life away. All of its life. The Greek word means "victim," which implies they have no say in the matter.
Romans 12:1 says:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to
Whenever we see a therefore in Scripture, we want to look and see what it's "there for." So we see in Romans 11 that Paul is quoting the prophets Isaiah and Job stating how we cannot know the mind of the Lord. Paul is singing the Lord's Sovereignty and Majesty.
Because God is sovereign and mighty, AND in view of his great mercy and love for you, offer your bodies as living sacrifices.
Yes, God wants ALL of you. Your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Jesus even said that was the greatest of all the commandments (Luke 10:27). He wants you surrendered, an offered sacrifice, a person who has given up their rights to him.
Paul tells us THIS is how we worship God. These choices to offer all of ourselves matter to our God. He sees it as true and proper worship. It's our service to him.
Sounds easy, right? Well, there's one problem. You see,
As living sacrifices, we keep crawling off the altar. We don't like it there. It's uncomfortable. We'd rather choose comfort. And a Starbucks. Or a cookie at least and call it a day. We don't like surrender because someone else is in control. So we jump down when it gets a little too hard or messy or difficult.
The only way we can stay is to choose it. Each moment. We remember that God is sovereign and that "From Him and through Him and to Him are all things" (Rom. 12:36). We belong to Him anyway. We are not our own. Put those truths together along with the view of God's mercy and you might have a compelling reason to stay on the altar. Because really, how's the continual crawling off going for you anyway? It usually doesn't go very well for me.
Tomorrow brings new compassions and new mercies. There will be more grace. So let's surrender. And stay put. At least for today.]]>