“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.”
The Roman church was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles, and people from backgrounds of varied faiths. Paul wrote this epistle to them in order to lay out the foundations of the Gospel and its power. He also wanted people to see the uniqueness of God’s gift of salvation, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. There are many places in the book of Romans where Paul pleads with the church, as he does here, beseeching them to live for God. There were some who professed Jesus but still did not live for Him. Through these verses, the Lord Jesus entreats each of us today, to remember the mercies of God and the power of His sacrifice. He is calling us to live for Him. Paul entreats the believers in Rome to present their bodies to God. He says this is their ‘reasonable’ service to God. It is not an unreasonable request, or some onerous demand, but something possible, practical and necessary. God wants us to live for Him, and not for ourselves. What does it mean to present our bodies to God? Simply that we live for Him. It is possible for us to so wholly give our life and existence to Jesus that He is the Lord and center of everything we do.
In Romans 7, Paul wrote about the conflict most people face, when they are torn between what their minds want to do, and what they know they should be doing. This is a struggle we all have faced. However, by the time he wrote Romans 12, Paul had received a further revelation. He saw that the only way to be holy and acceptable to God is to be a living sacrifice, to live not for ourselves and to please the flesh, but to please Jesus and live for Him.
In the best-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life” Rick Warren wrote that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it tries to crawl off the altar, and this is true. The only sacrifice that stays on the altar is a dead one. As long as there is a ‘me’ on the altar, it cannot stay there. It refuses to be sacrificed, as ‘me’ seeks recognition, affirmation, acceptance and pats on the back! It is the same ‘me’ that gets drawn into old sins such as pride, self promotion and unforgiveness, or tempted into old habits or desires. Satan always tries to raise up that ‘me’ because it is the old person, the carnal ‘me’ who he tempts and trips up. It is that old ‘me’ who he had victory over. He has no chance with the new ‘me’ because the new me is Jesus. Christ in me is the hope of glory! Friend, the way to be a living sacrifice is to be a dead one at the same time!
Paul wrote in Galatians 2:19 & 20 “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Firstly, Paul says that he died to the law that he might live unto God. He was a man who had been obsessed with obeying every smallest aspect of the Judaic law, however onerous it was, but he came to the realization that he could only know victory if he died to those efforts of the flesh, (died to self) and lived for God. He saw that it was not his own works and his efforts but the blood of Jesus and the power of God that made it possible. He realized that the only life he could live was not for himself but allowing the Lord to live through him. He said “I have been crucified with Christ”. It is very recently that the Holy Spirit gave me the revelation I needed about this Scripture and it has changed my life! The old ‘me’ was crucified with Christ. This means that we do not need to struggle and strive, and be beaten up by the law and the demands and expectations of people any more! Jesus has already done it all when you were not even looking! I was crucified with Christ! It is that old person who used to be tempted, and pulled to the left and to the right. It was the same ‘me’ who was constantly oppressed by the enemy, who may have suffered depression, and who was attacked by different infirmities from day to day. That ‘me’ died with Christ. That ‘me’ was laid upon the altar! That ‘me’ is gone, finished, dead! The only reason why you are still struggling with old issues and old infirmities is because somehow you never really received the good news deep into your spirit that you were crucified with Christ! Paul had to stop struggling with himself and with the enemy to experience this revelation, and it is the same with you and me. The devil is a liar, and as long as he knows you have not received this good news, he will continue to deceive you and have you laboring to overcome yourself and your failings or sicknesses.
Paul discovered that the old Paul was dead and crucified with Christ. The day Jesus hung upon the cross, He bore all of humanity’s sins, sicknesses and bondages upon Himself. The old ‘me’ died with Him and the new ‘me’ was resurrected when He was. The same new ‘me’ rules and reigns in heavenly places with Him, in victory, in power, in strength. This is the truth!
Precious child of the King, receive this awesome news into your spirit today. The old ‘you’ died with Christ. This means that the day you gave your life to Jesus and received His forgiveness, you received all the power of the cross to be a new resurrected person. Jesus Christ lives in you! He gave you the capacity to walk this earthly life in faith and in victory, receiving all the power of His Spirit to be free! He loves you and gave Himself for you! If you have been battling with sickness, begin to declare that your body was crucified with Christ and that it is not you but Christ who lives in you. There is no sickness in Jesus (He came to destroy the works of the devil - 1 John 3:8) and so, if He is in you there can be no sickness in you! He cannot suffer depression, addiction, or give in to sin (the Bible tells us that He was tempted on every count and still overcame) so you cannot be overtaken by depression, addiction or sin either.
When this Word became rhema to me, I began to declare it night and day, saying it when I felt unwell, or when I was tempted to be unforgiving. I believe it with all my heart “I was crucified with Christ. It is now not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me”. The new ‘me’ is living in Jesus. The new ‘me’ is strong in Him, and more than a conqueror. The new resurrected ‘me’ is seated in heavenly places. I am ruling and reigning with Christ! The new ‘me’ is able to be a living sacrifice because she was crucified with Christ. God is giving me a heavenly mindset and a heavenly worldview, and it is transforming everything for me. “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me”. Hallelujah!
This morning, I woke up in the beautiful kingdom of Bhutan at 4 am in the morning, as God gave me a vision of a living sacrifice. I saw Jesus in beautiful white flowing linen robes, and saw myself kneeling down at His feet, and then lying down, prostrate in worship, touching the hem of His robe. As I did this, He bent over and picked me up. He was very big and I was very tiny, as He lifted me like a child, above His head, and offered me to the Father. He makes us holy and acceptable before the throne of God. He purifies us and clothes us in white linen. It is He who makes us living sacrifices and pleasing to God. He crucified us with Him. The first step we can take is to offer ourselves to Him freely, holding nothing back.
“Holy Spirit, I ask you today to help me to be a living sacrifice. Help me to experience the revelation of all that Jesus has done for me. May I walk in all the power of the truth that I was crucified with Christ, and that it is not that old defeated ‘me’, but Jesus who lives, who rules and reigns through me, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
May this word burn deep into your heart, and may it take you to higher ground to be a living sacrifice made holy and acceptable because you were crucified with Christ!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 01 November 2011