12:1b …present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service.
Yesterday I explored the first part of the verse, where Paul urges us to have the proper response to God’s mercy shown to us: to come and present our bodies to God as a sacrifice.
Today we look at the description of our expected sacrifice. Paul uses two adjectives (living, and holy) and one participle (pleasing to God).
Alive. It must have seemed really bizarre to read this word being used in conjunction with sacrifices, since in that time and culture sacrifices were entirely about death. I’m sure the readers scratched their heads a little at the concept of a living sacrifice. Yet this one isn’t about literal death, but rather a death to self by one who remains very much alive to serve. And as Pastor Bob reminded us of what Pastor Ray used to say: “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off the altar.”
Holy. This concept was likely nothing new to Paul’s audience as all animal sacrifices had to be holy, pure, set apart for special use. But to have that concept applied to people was perhaps something new for them–and us–to ponder. It gives the sense that our sacrifice should be uncompromising, pure, wholehearted, with full dedication.
Pleasing to God. This seems to be the entire point of our sacrifice–to be a sweet aroma to God–in short, to bring Him pleasure. It has absolutely nothing to do with trying to repay Him, nor earning favors, it’s simply about wanting to bless Him who has blessed us so much.
As Bob pointed out on Sunday this is our “reasonable” service. It’s our appropriate act of worship. It’s what makes sense. It’s absolutely reasonable that a Giver of a gift so great should be treated this way.
So the relevant question for me today is: how am I doing at offering my body as a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing to God? That’s worth pondering for an hour or two.