Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. – Romans 12:1 NASB
As, I look at this scripture – what for me is the big question? What pops out at me is “letting my body be a living and holy sacrifice to God.” What does this really mean? Let’s dive into this verse…
First, why would God want us to present our bodies as a sacrifice to Him for worship? Are our bodies that special? As believers (In the God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob through the prophesied Messiah), we are actually the temples of the Holy Spirit. How awesome is that and at the same time it makes me feel extremely accountable for the way I live my life – yikes! It almost makes me want to run the other way because I feel so unworthy of being a dwelling place of God’s Spirit. Yet, what an amazing blessing and miracle to be a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV
(Later, we will do a deeper study on being a temple of the Holy Spirit.)
Let’s take a look at the word “living.” When we look at the word “living” it seems self-explanatory. Remember, that only looking at the English words doesn’t give the scriptures full meaning. We must look closer at the original languages of the Bible (my main resource for this verse) Of course, it means to be alive – to be breathing and not being lifeless or dead. We are also to enjoy a genuine life that is true and worthy of God’s name – a life that is actively seeking the kingdom of God. A life of happiness and a life never-ending in the kingdom of God (see also this resource).
Let’s move on to the word “holy.” How would we go about being a “holy” sacrifice? We are to be set-apart by and for God. In Romans 12:2, we will learn more about what it means to be set-apart. In my other resource, the word pure is used – to be pure – pure from carnality (debauchery) and to be chaste and modest (clean and innocent).
When it comes to the “sacrifice” of our bodies what does God really want from us? He’s not wanting us to sacrifice our actual body – as in the sacrifice of our sins – Yeshua (Jesus) has already done that and became the sacrifice for sin. We are to sacrifice the body’s sinful nature – its wants and desires – its lawlessness.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:19-21 NASB
All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) – Ephesians 2:3-5 NLT
I think we will stop here for now and next blog post, we will finish with Romans 12:1 (mercies of God and being acceptable to God and our spiritual service of worship.)
So to put all of this together:
Our bodies are not our own they are the temples of the Holy Spirit. In light of that, we are to live a life worthy of God’s name – that means living a set-apart life unto God and surrendering our bodies’ sinful natures which are not acceptable to God.
Part 2 will be coming soon.