If you desire to be more like Christ in your day-to-day life, I invite you on a journey through Romans 12. This chapter is considered as one of the most important chapters in all of the Bible that addresses how a life transformed by Christ should look like. For the next few weeks, the plan is to go through the entire chapter with this goal in mind—to become more like Christ.
So, with that said, here is Post # 1 titled “Offering Our Bodies To Christ” based on Romans 12:1 in the series titled “The Transformed Life.”
(Note: One could even consider memorizing, meditating and praying through the particular verses of this chapter that each post addresses as we go along in this journey of transformation)
“Will you please tell me in a word,” said a Christian woman to a minister, “what your idea of consecration is?” Holding out a blank sheet of paper the pastor replied, “It is to sign your name at the bottom of this blank sheet and to let God fill it in as he will.” That, in essence, is what consecration is! Signing our lives over to him with no questions asked! Being totally dedicated to God and his purposes at all times. A life of unconditional surrender!
In the Old Testament times, God commanded his people to offer animal sacrifices at prescribed times. However, after Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice on the cross, God no longer requires animal sacrifices at designated times but requires his people keep offering their bodies and minds—not just at certain times—but at all times—as living sacrifices. That’s the point of Romans 12:1-2.
Romans 12:1-2 “1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We are called to total consecration, total surrender to God by being a living sacrifice, 24/7! And this is accomplished by doing 2 things:
(1) By Offering our bodies to God (v. 1)
(2) By Offering our minds to God (v. 2).
We will only look at the first one in this post—Offering our bodies to God based on Romans 12:1.
First of all, notice what Paul uses as a motive when he calls us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice in the first part of verse 1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy.” God’s mercy—that’s the motive!
“Therefore” relates to the previous 11 chapters where Paul has been highlighting our sinful condition, the judgment that was facing us and how God through Christ in his “mercy” has provided salvation for us. Not only that, but Paul also described God’s mercy in adopting us into his family and giving us the Holy Spirit who secures us for future glorification as well. Tremendous blessings as a result of God’s mercy!
Here is where biblical Christianity differs from other religions. The religions of the world strive to please their gods in order to obtain mercy. We aim to please God because we have received mercy. In other words, they work for mercy; we work from mercy!
The sacrifice on the cross already applied to our hearts by God’s mercy causes us to want to live a life that is pleasing to God. That’s why Paul uses mercy as motivation as he urges believers—notice he does not command—but he says, “I urge you, brothers and sisters.” The word urge means to comes alongside to encourage or exhort—the noun form of this word is used to describe the Holy Spirit (Paraclete). He urges believers—both men (“brothers”) and women (“sisters”) because it applies to all: “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”
Contrary to the thought that the body is evil and only the spirit is good, the Bible clearly states that the body can be used for good or evil. If it can never be used for good, this call to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God would be a pointless command!
So, the call is clear. Every part of our bodies: eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet ought to be continually offered to God. That’s what the word “living sacrifice” means. As long as we live, we ought to offer our bodies to him in a manner that is holy. Only with such a sacrifice is God pleased!
Even in the Old Testament, God was not pleased when people brought defective animals for sacrifice as seen in Malachi 1:8, “When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.” Now if that was the case in the Old Testament, would God lower his standards under the New Covenant, especially after his Son came to give himself on the cross? Absolutely Not! That is why Paul says that our bodies must be offered in such a way that is “pleasing to God.”
“This” Paul goes on to say, “is your true and proper worship.” The words “true and proper” come from the word “logikos” from which we get the word “logic” or “logical.” What Paul says is simple: In the light of God’s mercies, we offering our bodies is the logical or the true and proper way of responding to him in worship. So, according to Paul, worship is not just limited to a few hours on Sunday morning. Instead, it’s the offering of every part of our bodies to him 24/7! This is what true worship is!
This means wherever we are, we are to offer every part of our bodies to God in submission. For example, the workplace where one spends a lot of time becomes a place of worship as well. How so? Ephesians 6:7-8 states, “7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.” When we realize our ultimate boss is Jesus Christ, we will strive to give our best and not be affected when we are not recognized by human bosses! Christ will reward us appropriately—when we stand before him. We should know he always watches and that we should always aim to offer him our best. That’s our worship to him in the workplace!
In fact, 1 Corinthians 10:31 makes it abundantly clear that all of life is an act of worship through these familiar words: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This means every member of our physical body is to function in such a way that pleases God at all times. We cannot indulge the members of our bodies to sin because it gives us pleasure and then conclude that God is pleased with our worship.
In other words, we cannot claim to render true and proper worship if we:
- Use our eyes to see things that are sinful [be it physical or material things]
- Use our tongues for the purposes of gossip, lying, sarcastic or downright hurting speech
- Use our ears to listen to sinful speech [e.g., gossip]
- Use our hands to:
- Earn money in sinful ways
- Hurt others physically
- Hurt others through written words [email, social media included]
- Be involved in sexual sins
- Use our feet to go to places that are forbidden
- Use our stomachs to yield to gluttony
- Use our minds for evil thoughts
Worship when it comes from defiled bodies is unacceptable worship. Remember Malachi 1:8? Worship that pleases God is worship that comes from holy bodies. Every part of our body is to honor God and bless others. The danger is that we often think by using the majority of our body parts to holiness, it’s ok if a single part of the body gives into sin here and there—sort of the thinking, “After all, it’s only my tongue or it’s only my eyes and that too for just a few minutes.” Such thinking is very foolish. The command is to offer our entire bodies—not just a few parts—at all times as a living sacrifice!
Yes, offering ourselves wholly to God at all times does come with a cost—the word “sacrifice” implies a cost! So, let’s ask ourselves some serious questions: What is our typical response when there is a cost to obey God’s word? Do we go forward or shrink back? And if our tendency is to shrink back, we need to consider these issues: (a) Is it right to shrink back from giving ourselves wholly to him because of the cost we may have to pay in the light of the price Jesus paid for our sins? (b) Shouldn’t his sacrificial act actually motivate us to go all out for him?
Let’s constantly ponder these words from 2 Corinthians 5:15,“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.” As those who have been bought by the blood of Christ, it is only right that we live for the One who bought us by giving all of himself on that cross. We are his and not our own. We have tasted his mercies. And his mercies should motivate us on a daily basis to be living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. When we feel powerless in overcoming temptation, let us make a deliberate attempt to reflect on his mercies on the cross and in our daily lives from past experiences and ask him to help us say “No” to temptation and say “Yes” to the call of being a living sacrifice by offering our bodies and minds.
Dr. Arthur T. Pierson who gave a most striking illustration of the need to give our “all,” with nothing held back. He said,
“Supposing you had one thousand acres of land and someone approached you and made an offer to buy your farm. You agree to sell the land, except for one acre right in the very center, with provisions for a right of way. Do you know,” he continued, “that the law would allow you to have access to that one, lone spot in the middle of that thousand acres? You could build a road all across the remainder of that farm to get to that small plot of ground.
And so it is with the Christian who makes less than a one-hundred-percent surrender to God. You can be sure that the devil will make an inroad across that person’s life to reach the un-surrendered portion and, as a result, his testimony and service will be marred and have little effect upon others.”
He then went on to say,
Christian, does the Lord have your body? Have you ever by a very definite act of the will presented it to Him for His control, His use, and His glory? If not, why don’t you do so right now? Just say, “Lord, I’ve already given You my heart, but now, here is my body! Help me to keep it clean, pure, and undefiled. Use me for Your glory in any way You see fit. I’m Yours to command!”
It’s never too late. One can even start now. There is no eternal risk; only eternal blessing when we surrender ourselves fully to God! Let’s sign that blank piece of paper and give it to God. Let him fill it as he sees fit! That’s true consecration. That’s a life of unconditional surrender to the One who in his mercy has done so much for us!