A Living Sacrifice
by Michael Chu
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A LIVING SACRIFICE
Thank God for redeeming us from the damnation of our sinful nature through the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross at Calvary. As Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect and complete unto God we no longer have to shed the blood of animals to atone for our sins. Yet, in Romans 12:1, Paul urges us to present our body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable and spiritual worship.
We are not our own. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us, whom we have from God. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:20; NKJV) Our appropriate response to God’s love and mercy is that of worship. The words of “Here Am I To Worship”, written by Tim Hughes, expresses this succinctly:-
Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes let me see
Beauty that made
This heart adores You
Hope of a life spent with You
Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
You’re all together lovely
All together worthy
All together wonderful to me
King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came
To the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor
I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
PREPARING TO WORSHIP GOD
In John 4, Jesus said that God the Father is looking for true worshippers; who worship God in spirit and in truth. Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well that He is able to give us living water; “but whoever drinks the water that I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14; NIV) Natural water will quench the thirst of our body, but supernatural water from God will satisfy the longing of our spirit and soul.
The Holy Spirit through John 7:37 ~ 39 (NIV) teaches us that: On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
And, what is eternal life? “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, and JESUS CHRIST, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3; NIV) Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. (John 14:6)
As we are in Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we are qualified to worship God in spirit and in truth. We are in a position to PRESENT our body together with our enlightened spirit and soul as a holy and pleasing act of worship unto God.
WORSHIPPING GOD FULLY INVOLVES OUR BODY
Without Christ and the Spirit of God, of what good is our body with its sinful nature unto God? William Barclay commented in The Daily Study Bible series, “To the Greek, what mattered was the spirit; the body was only a prison-house, something to be despised and even to be ashamed of. No real Christian ever believed that. The Christian believes that his body belongs to God just as much as his soul does, and that he can serve Him just as well with his body as with his mind or his spirit.”
He writes further, “True worship is the offering to God of one’s body, and all that one does every day with it. Real worship is not the offering to God of a liturgy, however noble, and a ritual, however magnificent. Real worship is the offering of everyday life to Him, not something transacted in a church, but something which sees the whole world as the temple of the living God.”
In Romans 7:21, Paul lamented that there is a war within his body between the law of his mind to obey God’s law and the law of sin. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24, 25; NIV)
He went on to declare that we can abhor sin and have the power to determine that we ain’t going to sin no more: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4; NIV)
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living within you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in You.” (Romans 7:10, 11; NIV)
Our sinful nature has been nailed to the Cross of Christ. Hallelujah! We now live in a body which has been resurrected by the Spirit, having been “born again”; not of the flesh, but the Spirit of God. Streams of living water will flow from within us to the world we live in. Let the Holy Spirit leads us daily to present our BODY as a holy and living sacrifice unto God. And, as we do so, All Glory Be To God! Amen.
WORSHIPPING GOD CONTINUALLY
On a light-hearted note, a LIVING sacrifice can figuratively and literally walk-off from the altar. But, we aren’t going to withdraw ourselves from being a living sacrifice because the love of Christ compels us; Jesus has wrought for us so great a salvation that our present sufferings (for Him) are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
Be strong and very courageous. Help is at hand. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. He intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. Further, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:28 – 37; NKJV)
While we are on this earth, we worship God daily. Moment by moment, even with every breath of His Spirit that we depend on. Much more, we will worship Him in all of eternity. John records for us in Revelation 7:9-12 (NKJV), “After these things I looked and behold, a great multitude which no one can number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
As Christians, we are living stones, with Christ as the chief cornerstone, being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 2:5) “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (2 Peter 2:9; NKJV)
Let’s respond whole-heartedly with our spirit, soul and body to Paul's urging:
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (Romans 12:1,2; Amp.)
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