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Romans 12:1

A Living Sacrifice

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.


The Apostle Paul, having finished the doctrinal portion of his letter to the Romans, now begins to give his readers the practical application of what he has been teaching. The "therefore" refers us back to everything that has been said since 1:16, and especially those things that were taught in the passages immediately before this one.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren,.." This is a call from one who considers his readers to be brothers and sisters in Christ. The closeness that Paul feels with other Christians, though he may never have met them, allows him to appeal to them from a position of familiar intimacy. He, therefore, implores them to make the proper response to the doctrines they have just learned.

"...by the mercies of God,.." The appeal is further strengthened by asking the reader to consider the mercies of God as their motivation. A Christian's actions should be motivated by and justified by the doctrinal facts of the faith. Understanding the compassionate way in which God has dealt with each of us should inspire us to respond to Him with complete devotion.

The response that Paul urges is, "that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice." There is no longer a need for the shedding of blood, no need for the sacrifice of lambs, bullocks or goats. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, has been sacrificed for us. His blood has been shed once and for all, and there is no other blood worthy of being shed for our sins. He died that we might have life, and our proper response to that kind of love is to live for Him.

The body represents more than just the flesh. It is the carrier of the mind and spirit of a person. The Christian's body is also the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is only appropriate then, since Christ died that we might live, that we present our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice. We are to live for Him alone, denying ourselves and the lusts of our flesh.

"...holy, acceptable unto God,.." Our sins have been forgiven, and we have been made holy, cleansed of all unrighteousness, and we should strive to maintain that holiness by refraining for sin and living by faith. This would make us acceptable unto God. We are new creatures in Christ, reborn to serve only Him, and we should not allow ourselves to be defiled again.

"...which is your reasonable service." It is this portion of this verse that is so often neglected. It means that this is the only reasonable way to worship the Lord. Our churches today are full of so called "worshipers" who have never presented their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. They live for themselves seven days each week, but for one hour on Sunday morning they are willing to sing some ear tickling songs of praise and listen to a sermon, as long as it is not too long.

You can sing all the hallelujahs you want, lift your hands in praise, shout, "Amen," and bow your knee in prayer but, if you are not living every day for Jesus, refraining from sin and presenting your entire being as a living sacrifice, you are not worshiping. Those other things must come as a spontaneous response to the joy of living for Him and knowing that He is pleased with your service.

Before The Throne:

If you are not living a life that is totally sacrificed to God, confess your sins and commit yourself to change. It is called repentance, a change of mind, a new way of looking at yourself and the world around you. Ask the Lord to help you live a life that is free from the temptation to sin, free from the desire to serve your own lusts, but filled with the motivation to spread the gospel.

For Further Study:

(v.1)
** beseech. Rom 15:30; 1Cor 1:10; 2Cor 5:20; 2Cor 6:1; 2Cor 10:1; Eph 4:1; 1Thess 4:1, 10; 1Thess 5:12; Heb 13:22; ** by the. Rom 2:4; Rom 9:23; Rom 11:30-31; Ps 116:12; Luke 7:47; 2Cor 4:1; 2Cor 5:14-15; Eph 2:4-10; Phil 2:1-5; Titus 3:4-8; 1Pet 2:10-12; ** that ye. Rom 6:13, 16, 19; Ps 50:13-14; 1Cor 6:13-20; Phil 1:20; Heb 10:22; ** a living. Ps 69:30-31; Hos 14:2; 1Cor 5:7-8; 2Cor 4:16; Phil 2:17; Heb 10:20-22; Heb 13:15 -16; 1Pet 2:5; ** acceptable. Rom 15:16; Ps 19:14; Isa 56:7; Jer 6:20; Eph 5:10; Phil 4:18; 1Tim 2:3; 1Tim 5:4; 1Pet 2:5, 20;

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