Welcome to Monday Manna here at my blog, The Open Book. Today, you are/were asked to give your thoughts on Romans 12:1, posted above. Go ahead and "link up" in the Mr. Linky gadget at the bottom of my blog with your contributions. Regardless, be sure to check out the other folks' thoughts on this bit of God's word. You will be fed. I guarantee it!
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 NIV
Below is my contribution.
I'm glad I wasn't a sheep or goat during Old Testament times--especially one that was "without blemish." On minute I might be wandering about a field, chewing on some grass and minding my own business, and the next I could be dragged off to Jerusalem to be slaughtered on an altar.
Before the coming of Christ, God's people had to perform animal sacrifices as atonement for their sins. The blood of the animals was the necessary requirement to fulfill God's need for holiness among His chosen people.
Personally, I'm glad the Lord sent His Son to be the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for all of our sins. We no longer offer sacrifices to God to appease Him.
Or do we?
True: we are no longer required to kill an animal to receive forgiveness when we sin. The blood of Christ is completely sufficient. Yet, God still desires a sacrifice of a different sort. This sacrifice is explained in the first verse of the twelfth chapter of Romans. You are to "...offer your bodies as living sacrifices..."
There are several ways that this sacrifice is different from those of Old Testament times, but two ways in particular struck me.
Firstly, it is a personal body sacrificeDuring OT times, people were required to give of their flock--of their livelihood. This was, for many, a great sacrifice, but it was only a sacrifice of a possession. This new sacrifice is a voluntary offer of ourselves. We are not merely giving up something we own: we must give up our minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits. Everything about us is given to God, is sacrificed as an "act of worship" on our part.
Secondly, it is a living sacrificeOur sacrifice, unlike the bull, lamb, goat, or whatever animal was used at the temple, is also a living sacrifice. The animals did not become the sacrifice until they were killed. We, however, do not need to shed blood to be "holy and pleasing to God." Christ already shed His perfect blood for us. So, we instead must offer our lives to God in all that we do.
Of course, there is one problem with a living sacrifice. Because we are still alive, we can climb right back down off that altar. That is why we must make a conscious effort to be sure we are repeatedly, daily (or hourly) putting ourselves back into the Lord's service, and being that sweet-smelling savor he loves. We must offer ourselves to Him: repeatedly, unconditionally, and
willingly. It is our "spiritual act of worship" of the One who died for us.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. I am so glad we no longer need to sacrifice animals to repent before You. Help me, Lord, to remember how much you desire my personal, living sacrifice of ourselves to You. Help me to offer to You my heart, my body, my mind, and my soul for whatever You would have me do, to be that holy and pleasing aroma to You and the world around me. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Don't forget to read the other folks' thoughts on this verse below, and feel free to share your own! Thanks for participating.