Read This Week’s Passage: Romans 12

Living Sacrifice

Throughout Romans, Paul has described the incredible and extraordinary generosity of God manifested in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. What response should this sacrificial generosity evoke in us? According to Paul, the only reasonable and rational response to God’s mercy is to present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). If God sacrificed for us, we can do no less than present ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.

In the Old Testament, most sacrifices were bloody (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus’ sacrifice certainly was. The sacrifice Paul calls us to is a living, not a dying sacrifice. A living sacrifice involves the surrender of our long-cherished ways and adding inclinations to God’s ways. We do this by presenting our bodies to God and refusing to conform to the ways of the world and by the continual transformation and renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). The life of a living sacrifice involves both the body and the mind. Believers seek to conform their embodied lifestyle to their renewed minds.

Minds are not renewed once and for all. Throughout our lives, we will be continually challenged by new circumstances that require us to prove what is good and acceptable to God (Romans 12:2). Understanding the perfect will of God is an ongoing process that requires regular testing or proving. Day by day, we will encounter new and challenging opportunities to live out our Christian commitment. These challenges should be confronted prayerfully and responded to through the study of God’s Word.

In Romans 12, we will see that we demonstrate a life of living sacrifice through the use of our spiritual gifts for the common good (Romans 12:3–8) and genuine acts of love (Romans 12:9–21).