“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“A Living and Holy Sacrifice”
(Please read Romans 12:1)
Much of Paul’s letter to the Romans is devoted to rich and profound doctrinal arguments concerning the righteousness of God and the redemption of man. But it also includes some more practical teaching to show his readers how to apply the gospel in their daily lives. Paul began this part of his letter with our text, which is probably quite familiar to most churchgoers since, with good reason, it is read or quoted so often from pulpits.
Here is plain and powerful teaching, to be taken to heart by every Roman reader of that day, and every Christian reader in every age. In view of the things taught earlier in the letter, which so conclusively set forth the mercies of God, Paul says we have a duty to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God.
Since Paul went on to write of “the renewing of your mind,” it appears that by “bodies” here, he meant just that — physical bodies. And in a context about how Christians are not under the law of Moses, this passage presents a sharp contrast to the dead sacrifices formerly presented by God’s people.
“Presenting” these sacrifices is voluntary on our part, a free-will offering. In a sense we know that our bodies belong to God already; he made them and he redeemed them. “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). In the next few verses of Romans 12, Paul shows how we continually present our living sacrifice, which we hope is a part of your life and ours.