August 19

Romans 12:1-2 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Whenever you see the word "therefore", you should read before it to find out what it is there for. In the case of our passage for this evening Paul had been expressing the wonder of God's grace in the world, drawing both Jews and Gentiles to Himself. Because God is so very gracious and merciful, the only appropriate response from us is to present ourselves like the Jews presented a sacrificial animal. We give our physical bodies to be laid upon the altar of God for Him to do with as He pleases. This means we no longer claim the right to do as we please.

Unlike the animal sacrifices, we remain living and functioning at God's direction. It is wonderful to become God's tool for His use, but the problem with being a living sacrifice is that we can climb off the altar.

The sacrifice is holy. In the Old Testament the altar was most holy and sanctified the gift. We cannot pollute God when we are surrendered; He sanctifies us. That means He makes us completely His for His use alone. This process is pleasing to God. Since we are to be for His use alone, we should not conform to the ungodly pattern of the world. The process of being sanctified begins with the transformation of our minds. As our way of thinking is renewed, we begin to see life in a different light. We see ourselves as servants and not masters. We see fulfillment in serving God and not in serving self. Only when our minds are renewed are we able to test and approve of God's will. Once our minds are transformed by His Spirit and Word, and we can discern His good, pleasing and perfect will. Then we truly begin to live life as He meant us to live it.

Consider: Are you on the altar?