“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.”Romans 12:1
When the apostle addresses the church in Rome as “brothers,” this includes the sisters also. The epistles are addressed to the churches, to the believers and not to those of the world, not to sinful people. So here the apostle writes to the brothers and sisters in the Lord: “present your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
There are some people who think that they had already given themselves fully to the Lord at the time of conversion. But how can a person who is “dead in trespasses and sins” make a complete surrender? After all, he is a rebel against God, for he has offended Him and sinned against Him. How can he consecrate himself to God?
When the sinner realizes his lost condition and comes to God in sincere repentance and contrition, he is pardoned. His sins are forgiven, and God accepts him as His child. He is born again. The person has now received spiritual life, life from God. Only now is he in the state where he can give himself to God as a living sacrifice.
What do we mean by a sacrifice? It is a picture taken from the Old Testament. The God-fearing Israelite brought a lamb or a bull to the priest. The requirement was that the animal must not have any defect. Symbolically, the Israelite gave himself to God in the sacrifice. Hebrews 10:6 states: “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you [God] have no pleasure.” Only when the person offered himself in sacrifice could God accept the sacrifice.
We who live in the New Covenant and have greater knowledge know that Jesus became the true sacrificial lamb. God gave His Son for us. And now, He asks us to give ourselves to Him.
The sacrifice must be living, holy, and pleasing to God. It must be set apart from all that is unclean. There must be a separation if you are going to consecrate yourself to your God. You must get rid of all the things that still cling to you and are in the way. If you still want to participate in this and that after the manner of the world in addition to your religious practices, then your sacrifice is not holy, not separated, as you are still clinging to things that prevent you from making that complete surrender to God.
“The One on the cross is my love and nothing else in this world,” sings a poet. It must come to that with you, too. You must be willing to leave everything for the sake of Jesus. Otherwise, you are not ready to be a holy sacrifice pleasing to God.
The Father in heaven had mercy on us human beings, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” He gave His dearest to bitter death to redeem us. Then should it be too difficult for us to give ourselves to Him as a total sacrifice?
Many people are satisfied with their experience and with their Christianity. But is God also satisfied with it? Many do not realize that the enemy of souls has a subtle plan. He gladly lets them have their saintly speeches, even their reverent church services, if only they do not completely surrender their lives to God. In this way, they do not notice that the enemy is gradually ensnaring them and that their spiritual life is slowly declining.
You may ask: How should I give myself to God as a sacrifice? – Surrender your life and yourself completely to the Lord, with everything you are and have, and pray along with the poet:
I will now surrender
To You, O Savior, now:
Spirit, soul, body, life,
I consecrate all to You!
I will separate from all,
From the dearest thing I have;
I’ll keep away from sin,
Be faithful to the grave.
Nothing is too dear for You;
the sacrifice is ready.
O, send the holy fire,
Consecrate the sacrifice!