Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
Romans 12:1 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
In German, Paul’s theology is referred to as ethik der dankbarkeit, or in English, ethics of gratitude (Mohrlang, 189). He has spent the first eleven chapters of this letter talking about the Good News of Grace, and how we are saved by faith and not by our works. He has so eloquently expressed how we are saved not by our own goodness but by God’s grace. Now he expresses what our response should be to God because of all that He has done for us. He pleads with, appeals to, and urges us to show God how grateful we are by giving ourselves to Him. When he says, “give your bodies to God,” he isn’t referring only to our skin and bones, but rather to our entire beings. He is referring not to that which people see on the outside but also to what is inside of us. In other words, he is pleading with us to give ourselves totally to God body, soul, and spirit. In Paul’s mind the Christian life is not following a set moral-ethical rules, but rather it is a “joyful response to God’s kindness in saving us, a way of saying thank you for all that God has so mercifully given us in Christ.” So what is Paul suggesting that we do? He says that we are to, “be a living and holy sacrifice” to God. In the Old Testament people would give up the best of their herd to be given to the Priest to sacrifice the animal to God. Therefore, what Paul is suggesting is that we give up, sacrifice, our total selves to God. That means being willing to give up that things that our sinful flesh wants to hang on to. It means to surrender every part of our lives over to the will of God. The word holy means “to be set apart for God’s purpose.” So in becoming a living and holy sacrifice, we give up our entire selves and dedicate ourselves to God. Are you being a living and holy sacrifice?