Living Sacrifice

  • By Pastor Tim Boffey
  • on Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Rom 12:1 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. Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Bible-readers are generally familiar with the doctrine that N.T. religion is defined by spiritual sacrifices like praise (1PE 2:5; HEB 13:15) as opposed to the carnal ordinances and sacrifices demanded by the Law of Moses which never took away sin (HEB 10:1-4; HEB 10:11). David by prophecy understood this superior form: Psa 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psa 69:31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. Today’s text (ROM 12:1-2) deserves some thought since it seems clear that it addresses public worship, not individual dedication. The Roman saints are told to present their bodies (plural) a living sacrifice (singular) to God as a reasonable service. The use of “service” here should be compared with the description of O.T. religion of “...gifts and sacrifices which could not make him that did the service perfect...” (HEB 9:9). At issue is how we now approach God in corporate worship, our service. If individual Christian deportment were in focus, the text would more appropriately read, “...present your bodies living sacrifices...” but it instead emphasizes a single sacrifice. Presenting self unto God is terminology that was commonly used to describe the duty to appear before God, to be in His presence for the communication of His interests to the creature and for the creature’s service to Him. Here are some examples: Exo 34:2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. Deu 31:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. Jos 24:1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 1Sa 10:19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. Under Moses’ Law, worshippers would present themselves before God at appointed seasons with a slain animal as a sacrificial offering. But through Christ, believers now are called together to worship God through Him Who “...hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God...” (EPH 5:2). We ought therefore to willingly and regularly convene to render to God corporate praise and thanksgiving, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together...” (HEB 10:25). The presentation to God of the assembled church of Jesus Christ for its service to God is a living sacrifice, a gathering of quickened sinners rendering to God His praise under a New Testament “...not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life” (2CO 3:6). We then “...by a new and living way...draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...” (HEB 10:19-22) as the convened “...church of the living God...” (1TI 3:15) coming unto “...the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...” (HEB 12:22). Everything about genuine, Biblical N.T. worship accords with living, from Christ the living bread (JOH 6:51) unto the living sacrifice the saints become in public worship. The notion of full service to God without the corporate assembly of the church is a gross error. ROM 12:2 continues the theme by the conjunctive phrase “And be not conformed to this world...” In context, then, this would have a bearing on the manner of corporate worship, to wit, that it should be in conformity with revelation since God calls men to worship Him in spirit and truth (JOH 4:23-24). Thus, such things as man’s traditions (MAR 7:7-13), heathen methods (DEU 12:30-32; JER 10:1-4; 2CO 6:14-18), carnal exploitation (1CO 11:20-22), abrogated holydays or O.T. rituals and forms (COL 2:16-17), lifeless musical instruments (1CO 14:7), or any blending together whatsoever of the elements of the world with the revealed mode of N.T. worship (GAL 4:8-11) given in Scripture would be a corruption of the very purpose of ROM 12:1-2. The ordinances of our faith should be kept, as Paul said, “...as I delivered them to you” (1CO 11:1-2). To insist on importing the world/flesh into N.T. church worship is to defy the order, “And be not conformed to this world...” (ROM 12:2). May saints present their bodies to God a living sacrifice: alive by His Spirit and proving their interest in the same by conforming all of their life, including their public worship, to the will of God as revealed in Scripture. One would be hard-pressed to be “...holy, acceptable unto God...” (ROM 12:1) by trivializing the revealed order of church worship.

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