Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
“It is important to note that these verses are addressed to Christians. He calls them “brothers”. If we profess faith in Christ, if we trust in Christ and His life and death for us, these words are for us. What he calls us to is to be completely set apart for the Lord, since He gave up everything for us. He says,
“…present your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
By the word bodies, Paul means our whole selves, of which our body is the vessel. Since God, in Christ has lived and died and risen again for us, we should give all that we are and have to Him as an act of gratitude. 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 says,
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
The sacrifice belongs to the One to whom it is sacrificed. The one bringing the sacrifice no longer has a claim on it. (Check with Ananias and his wife Sapphira on this in Acts 5.) We are to yield our lives to God and die to ourselves. Jesus said,
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
It is important to understand that what we are talking about here is ceasing from our own selfish way of living and beginning to live in obedience to the Lord.
In Galatians, Paul goes on “and I no longer live.” This is a riddle. He is dead, but he lives! How can this be? “…but Christ lives in me.” Paul’s life is no longer his to live as he wishes. His “old self” is dead, and there is a new life in him, that is Christ’s.
By way of explanation Paul says, “The life I live in the body.” Paul, in his old man—committed to his sinful ways, living contrary to God, and subject to the condemnation of the law—has died. He lives on but with a different energizing force, the Spirit of Christ living within.”
The 31 Days with God devotional series was to help prepare us for the next phase of the ‘battle plan’ regardless of whether the two churches merge. Hopefully, we have been encouraged, edified, and equipped toward maturity at least to some degree. This 31 days ends here, but we still have an undisclosed amount of time to engage in worship by being dead, yet alive –living sacrifices, wholly dedicated soldiers to Christ’s cause: to seek and save the lost; to Christ’s commission: to go and make disciples; and to The Bride’s warfare: to engage in the battle through prayer as conquerors over the enemy. As Luther said in the hymn, A Mighty Fortress, “one little Word shall fell him”. That Word is the whole of the Bible, but one supremely powerful word is “Jesus”. May we seek Him, know Him, and please Him as our life’s work. May his name be heard from our lips often. He came to die for his Church. How can we fight for any lesser cause? We cannot lose, because Jesus in his Atonement has already won for us.