The mercies of God found in the Lord Jesus Christ call for the songs of loudest praise, and they also flow from a heart of faith. Early in his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul stated that through the preaching of the gospel the purpose of his ministry was “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations (Romans 1:5).” This obedience of faith is described in Romans 12 as believers are called to present themselves to God as living sacrifices. This language brings us back to the old covenant sacrificial system, however Paul is challenging with a new picture, not of livestock, but of ourselves. The sacrifice we are to offer to our Savior and King is to be a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice.
What does this mean? What does such a life look like? For this post, I want to take a look at these descriptors Paul uses to call believers to give themselves to God completely. Good English translations of the Bible strive for accuracy to the original languages along with readability. For example, the English Standard Version (ESV) provides the following translation, “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1b).” However, while reading smoothly, this gives the impression that “living sacrifice” is distanced from the adjectives “holy” and “acceptable” when all three actually describe the sacrifice in question. In other words, the text calls us to present our bodies as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice. (more…)