"A LIVING SACRIFICE"
"... Christ also has loved us
and given Himself for us an offering
and a sacrifice to God," Ephesians 5'2.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends," John 15'13.
The sacrifice that Jesus made stands above all the other sacrifices, past or in the future.
His is the only sacrifice that achieves eternal life for human beings. Also by it He brought the New Covenant into being and set in motion the New Covenant Kingdom of God.
John, the apostle, experienced life with the Lord right through His life, seeing Him suffer as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Many years later John expressed his grateful praise for what the Lord achieved for him and for all who believe with these words in Revelation 1'5-6:
"To Him who loved us
and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father,
to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
THEREFORE . . .
Believers possess life and immortality and live in God's love because of the Lord's sacrifice.
Therefore every Saint can join with Paul and say, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift," 2 Corinthians 9'15.
Along with His marvellous gift John says that Jesus has made us "kings and priests to His God and Father".
And the Lord speaks through Peter to all who believe and says:
"... you are a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
His own special people,
Knowing all these things releases every Believer so:
that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you
out of darkness into His marvellous light," 1 Peter 2'9.
by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God,
that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
"But do not forget to do good and to share,
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased,"
. . . in their infant stage, some Believers behave in unacceptable ways. As infants do! Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit gives them power to shed such things.
He inspired the apostle Peter to say these words of exhortation and encouragement:
"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious,
coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 2-5.
Do what He says and reap the benefits as part of the Lord's great spiritual house.
And if the going does get tough, remember, "If God be for us who can be against us," Romans 8'31.
GIVING GOD THE GLORY
"A living sacrifice" is one sacrifice that seems to represent a lifestyle that includes all the others. It is quite well-known and is found in Paul's letter to the Romans.
But less well-known is it's context. This includes all of Romans 11 and culminates with the great words of 11'33 to 12'2:
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen."
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,
and do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable
and perfect will of God," Romans 11'33 to 12'2.
Notice the word "therefore". It means "because these things are so". He is saying because this is the way these things are".
And because they are "... of God and through God and to God" Paul makes his appeal, calling for a sacrifice. One that is initial and that is ongoing.
It's initial as a prayer of commitment. Offering the body, based on the teachings of immersion in water (see Romans 6 and Colossians 2).
It's ongoing as a daily intention to be transformed by the renewal of the mind by letting the Word of Christ dwell within (Colossians 3'16-17).
This is living and giving every day in the mercies and the grace of God, "to whom be glory forever. Amen".
"I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ lives in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me,"
Galatians 2'20 KJV.
"Now may the God of peace
who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead,
that great Shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
make you complete in every good work to do His will,
working in you what is well pleasing in His sight,
through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for the all-sufficient sacrifice of your Son. And for the great privilege of being able to offer you spiritual sacrifices.
And thank you, too, for the gracious power of the Holy Spirit in assisting Believers to have renewed minds, live transformed enjoying Kingdom life in your will and way.
In Jesus' name. Amen.