LIVING SACRIFICE

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“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.” – Romans 12:1 NKJV.

The concept of a “living sacrifice” in English parlance is what is popularly referred to as an oxymoron.

An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. A simple example is when I say, “Suddenly, the room was filled with a deafening silence.” The words ‘deafening silence’ is an oxymoron.

While “living sacrifice” might be an oxymoron within the context of written and spoken English, it is and ought to be the living reality of every believer. For us, the phrase “living sacrifice” isn’t contradictory- it is a Christian truth!

Sacrifice is usually associated with deadness, however, in our theme scripture, Apostle Paul associates sacrifice with life.

Let’s look at a few things from this verse again.

First, the word “bodies” in the theme scripture isn’t referring to the physical body. The word “bodies” in context means the entirety of a person. For the sake of corroboration, see 1 Corinthians 6:16 and James 3:6.

“Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” – 1 Corinthians 6:16 NKJV

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” – James 3:6 NKJV

Paul obviously wasn’t saying that one joined to a harlot is one physical body. Neither was James saying that the tongue is capable of defiling the physical body of a man. In both instances, they were referring to the entirety of a man’s being not just his physical body.

Hence, Paul was imploring believers, by the mercies of God, to present their whole being as a living sacrifice.

Why?

It’s simply because this is what God considers reasonable service unto Him. He expects our full co-operation to His plans and purposes, to His methods and ways. And if it’s reasonable service to Him, it’s reasonable service for us.

“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15

Jesus gave us His all. He isn’t telling us to do what He hasn’t done. Christ has given Himself as an example to emulate. He doesn’t want half-hearted commitment. He commands our all!

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