Romans 12:1-3 – “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. 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.” NKJV
I have often wondered and discussed with believers the idea of “Living Sacrifices” and some of the thoughts I have heard and hear amaze me. I have heard from some well-meaning believers that this means intentional suffering. They have the idea that ‘suffering’ is God’s desire and that somehow suffering produces spirituality. What I hear in those instances is almost the idea of flagellation. They would never go that far but they almost pray for ‘suffering’ and ‘difficulty.’
The Bible speaks of us a bricks or stones in God’s building and calls us “living stones.” The problem with living stones as contrasted to natural stones is living stones have a mind, will, and emotion and sometimes don’t stay where they are inserted into the building. Likewise, living sacrifices do not always stay on the altar and thereby do not remain sacrifices or that which is committed and dedicated to God. If you take a sacrifice in the natural it does not get up and walk away from the altar it dies there and remains there.
Paul’s plea for the believers to give themselves to God as “living sacrifices” and makes it wonderfully clear this is not simply an act of the individual’s will or self-discipline, it is by the mercies of God. It is by God’s enablement, His grace that we are able to do this. It is an act of dedication and commitment but it is also a supernatural work. Paul goes further and calls this a “reasonable service” not an extraordinary act of piousness. It is simply the expected and should be a normal and natural result of our commitment to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The life that we commit is to be holy or set apart. He is talking less about the natural body than the entire man but includes the natural body and that is a reason for us to take heed to our physical person as well as our spiritual person.
But, he does not stop there, he identifies some results of our becoming ‘Living Sacrifices’ to God that resonates powerfully in my spirit. If our reasonable service is to be a Living Sacrifice to God and in that condition and position, we can experience and achieve the full objective identified by Paul. He said, “And…” That connector immediately shouts, “Here it comes!” Read it with me, “And do not be conformed to this world…” That should be a top priority for every child of God that we ‘come out from among them and separate ourselves unto God.’ Not, that we become isolationist and isolate and insulate ourselves from the world so that we have not contact and no impact on them. It is that we are not influenced and shaped by the world and worldview. “…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” That identifies the importance of the mind in salvation. Remember the words of Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior – one who manipulates].” As the NKJV renders it, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” We are charged to ‘bring every thought captive to the Lord’ and to ‘have the mind of Christ.’ The mind is a powerful and wonderful part of our makeup and is deeply involved in our salvation. As our minds are renewed or reprogrammed we find that we experience TRANSFORMATION rather than CONFORMATION.
The apostle then makes a powerful declaration that this process enables us to determine and demonstrate as well as experience the Will of God which is good, acceptable, and perfect. I won’t deal with the trifecta that is often taught in that portion of that scripture only that as a RENEWED MIND TRANSFORMS us we are able to prove or establish then walk in the will of God. That, in my view, is powerful and desirable. Would you not like to be able to prove or establish the Will of God in your life with such clarity and certainty that it is unquestioned? Would you not like to experience a relationship with God where you are in a continual state of renewal and transformation moving from glory to glory and revelation to revelation in Him? How do you get there? First, allow the Holy Spirit and Grace of God to place you on the altar as a Living Sacrifice and STAY THERE. Then, begin the process of renewing and reprograming our mind through the Word and Prayer. This will TRANSFORM you and guard against your being CONFORMED to the world and as you enter that state you will discover the Will of God.
God, bless you as you step out in faith and commitment!