- 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. -
So what does it mean to present our bodies as living sacrifices? A lot of times we discuss this verse when referring to sacrificing our carnal nature. We think that Paul is referring to our sinful desires (i.e lust, greed, dishonesty, gossip, etc.) when he talks about presenting our bodies as a sacrifice, but that is not what Paul is referring to. Our sinful desires and our carnal nature was crucified with Christ when He went to the cross. Christ’s blood has already washed us and freed us from these things. Obviously we should be stopping our sinful actions, as Paul said in Galatians 4:9, “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?” Why would you want to stay bound to those sinful desires after Christ paid the price for us to be set free.
So if Paul is not talking about us sacrificing our carnal nature then what was he referring to? Paul states that the sacrifice should be “holy, acceptable to God”. Looking back to Leviticus we can see what the parameters were for an ‘acceptable’ sacrifice. There were many types of sacrifices in Old Testament times but one thing that was always common to the sacrifices is that they were to be without blemish, perfect in every way. Understanding that we can understand that our sinful nature would never be a sacrifice that would be acceptable to God. In fact in Leviticus God commands that the unacceptable parts of the sacrifice should be separated and burned outside of the camp, then the rest was presented to God. Translating that into our own lives, we should be separating the sinful nature and allowing it to be consumed by God’s holy fire, then we should present the rest of us as a sacrifice to Him. We should be presenting everything that is good about us to Him. Every talent, skill, personality trait, anything that people may compliment us on should be what we present to Him as our holy sacrifice.
Often we think that we need to lay our problems and our weaknesses at His feet, but really what we should presenting to His throne is our strengths. God has asked for our best parts, our areas of strength and our talents. He’s the one who gave us those things so it is only fitting that they should be used for His glory. Not only that but He will lead us into how to use those things most effectively. So present your whole self, made righteous through Christ’s sacrifice, to God. This is a sacrifice that God will see as holy and acceptable, and this is your reasonable service.