Dead or Alive, or Both?

I live yet not I

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

What insights can we glean from the Word of God about being a living sacrifice? Perhaps one of the first things we find is that this sacrifice is alive! It is not a dead sacrifice. It is a life full of the Spirit of God – a life full of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Yes, it is a living sacrifice and never a dead work.

Secondly, we learn much by meditating on the word sacrifice. Biblical sacrifices always required the death of the one being sacrificed. It may seem conflicting to think of a living sacrifice being alive and dead at the same time, but listen to the words of the Apostle Paul: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth 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).  Yes, there is death and life at the same time. The death of ourselves – we have been crucified with Christ – and the life  of Christ in me – a living sacrifice.

Now the real question is: Do we present our bodies to live in this way? Do we deny ourselves? Do we say “Not my will, but Thine be done”?  Do we seek to be alive in Christ, living that abundant life that He has promised? If so, do we realize that we are only giving back to God that which is actually His? The Bible teaches that we are not our own. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And that price was the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). If we are Christians, we are not our own. We have actually been bought by the Lord, and He may use our lives in any way that He desires.  How blessed and peaceful it is just to walk in agreement with Him!

We may also notice from the Romans 12 verse that being a living sacrifice is our reasonable service. It just makes sense that we would serve the One who has saved and delivered us. Why then, would the Apostle Paul have to beg these Christians to present themselves as a living sacrifice in service to the Lord?

Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of Jesus cleansing ten lepers, but only one returned to Jesus to thank Him.  What a sad thought – that great miracle was performed for all ten, but nine of them went on their way, never returning to thank Him. How often we are just like those nine! May God forgive us!

Look at the sacrifice that we are to bring to the Lord: By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name (Hebrews13:15).  As with those lepers, all that we can bring to Him is praise and the giving of thanks.  We must turn from our own way, return to Him, and give back to Him that which He so richly deserves!

Let’s give some time to one further thought about a living sacrifice. Do you know that there is really nothing else that we can bring to God? He has done all that is necessary, through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, for each of us to be brought into a living relationship with Him. There is nothing that we can do, and certainly there is nothing that we can bring Him. He owns it all. All belongs to Him.

Hear the questioning rebuke of Paul: What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did receive it, why do you glory, as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Perhaps a living sacrifice can be understood as described by the heart of David as he had painstakingly gathered all of the gold, silver, brass, stones, wood, iron, works of the artificers, and much more for the building of the temple. Knowing that God had chosen Solomon for the work, the people rejoiced as they gave all of these and more offerings for the work of the Lord (1 Chronicles 29). After much outpouring of praise (v. 10-13), David asks this question: But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee (v. 14). He continues: O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee a house for Thine holy name cometh of Thine hand, and is all Thine own (v. 16). Truly it is all His own, and we can only give back to Him of His own!

Take time to meditate on and pray about all that God has given to you. Think deeply on the blessings of salvation, the blessings of your family, the blessings of health, the blessings of gifts and talents, and so much more! How would God have you bring each of those things to Him, giving them back to Him, accompanied with praise and the giving of thanks? What does it mean, in your life, to actually present your body to God as a living sacrifice? It is truly the fullest life that one can live!

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

One thought on “Dead or Alive, or Both?

  1. Thank you Donna … this was the central scripture verse of our wonderful message this morning. Have printed out and will pass on to our Pastor. God bless and Happy Easter. Jesus is alive.

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