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Christian Understanding of Sacrifice

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

The Sacrifice of Selfishness
Paul is calling the Roman believers to not just surrender their physical bodies to God but the entirety of their mortal existence. In other words, Jesus wants everything from your life. He wants you dreams, your desires and your disappointments. Jesus wants all that you have, all that you are and all that you will become surrendered to Him.

This means that every possession is Christ’s not yours. This means that every moment is Christ’s not yours. Every effort of your life is Christ’s not yours. When you hold something back from Christ, you are literally saying that He is not worth giving up what you want. We are meant to live for Christ with every breath we take and love Him with every fiber of our being.

The Sacrifice of Service
Paul calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. This seems like the ultimate paradox because the Jewish mind set would have automatically assumed that a sacrifice was dead. It would have seemed impossible to have a living sacrifice. The sacrifice was given by shedding its blood and letting it die on the altar.

When you give a living sacrifice to Christ it is an offering of a life that was once dead and has been given new life. When we were dead in our sins we were not truly living but through Christ we find true life. Remember Paul is talking to believers here because he called them brothers. As believers we must strive to live lives that are separated for God’s service. Lives that are set apart for His use.

The problem with living sacrifices is that they sometimes crawl off the altar – Annon.

Living sacrifices are a daily choice and is an issue of the heart. Each and every day you get up and make the choice to either live for God or live for something else.

Paul adds yet another ingredient to the mix of this living sacrifice – spiritual acts of worship. The Greek states this a little differently. The term here for spiritual is logikos which is where we get our English word logic. It means to be logical or reasonable. Paul moves us full circle because he starts with our mortal existence, then adds our spiritual life and now finishes with the reason. What is the purpose here?

We must live to serve God with a focus through all that we are and every ability that we have been given. The word for worship here literally means to serve with all of one’s strength. God wants us to serve Him with all of our being and all of our strength. When was the last time you gave Christ your absolute best?

Christ wants believers to consecrate three crucial areas or aspects of their lives.

Attitudes

Abilities

Actions