What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? A Bible Study on Romans 12:1-2

Published On: 1 de April de 2024Categories: Bible Study

Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform 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.

1. The Call to Present Our Bodies as a Living Sacrifice

In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul pens a deeply moving letter to the believers in Rome, exhorting them to live a life wholly devoted to God. In Romans 12:1-2, he lays the groundwork for this exhortation by saying, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” This powerful verse forms the basis of our Bible study on Romans 12:1-2, urging us to present ourselves completely to God as a living sacrifice.

To fully grasp the significance of this call, it is essential to understand the context in which Paul writes these words. The book of Romans is a comprehensive treatise on the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. In the preceding chapters, Paul meticulously explains the concepts of justification, sanctification, and the role of the law in the life of a believer. Having established these foundational truths, he then shifts his focus to the practical implications of these teachings for the daily lives of Roman Christians.

The phrase “living sacrifice” may initially appear paradoxical, as sacrifices in the Old Testament were primarily animals that were slain and offered to God on an altar. However, Paul emphasizes that Christians should offer their entire beings to God while still living. This sacrifice is not a one-time event but a continuous, daily commitment to live for God’s purposes, reflecting the transformative power of the Gospel in their lives.

To better comprehend the concept of a living sacrifice, it is helpful to examine the Old Testament sacrificial system, which foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. In Leviticus, we find detailed instructions for various sacrifices, including burnt offerings, sin offerings, and peace offerings. These sacrifices served as a means of atonement for the sins of the Israelites and symbolized their complete devotion to God.

In contrast, the living sacrifice that Paul speaks of in Romans 12:1-2 is not meant to atone for sin, as Jesus Christ has already accomplished this through His death and resurrection. Instead, it represents a believer’s total surrender to God’s will and a commitment to live a life that glorifies Him. This living sacrifice is a response to the mercies of God, as mentioned in the verse, acknowledging that our salvation and redemption are solely due to His grace and compassion.

Moreover, the living sacrifice is described as “holy” and “acceptable unto God.” The term “holy” signifies being set apart for God’s use, while “acceptable” implies that our sacrifice pleases Him. In order to be holy and acceptable, we must strive to live righteously and obediently, following God’s commands and seeking His will in all aspects of our lives. This involves a continuous process of sanctification, through which the Holy Spirit works in our lives to conform us to the image of Christ.

2. Holy and Acceptable Unto God

To gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be holy and acceptable to God, it is essential to explore the concept of holiness in the Bible. The word “holy” means to be set apart, consecrated, or dedicated to God. This separation from the world and dedication to God is a fundamental aspect of the Christian life, as believers are called to live according to God’s standards and not to conform to the world’s standards.

The word “acceptable” in Romans 12:1 means that we must offer a sacrifice that is pleasing or acceptable in the eyes of God. This term emphasizes the importance of living a life that pleases God, not only in our outward actions, but also in our inner thoughts and motivations. To be acceptable to God, our hearts must be fully surrendered to Him, and our lives must reflect His love, grace, and righteousness.

In addition to 1 Peter 1:15-16, there are numerous other verses in the Bible that provide guidance on how to live a holy and acceptable life. For example, in Colossians 3:12-17, we are instructed to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave us. These virtues are essential for living a life that is pleasing to God and reflecting His character to the world.

Furthermore, in Ephesians 4:1-3, we are encouraged to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This passage highlights the importance of living in unity with other believers and maintaining a spirit of love, humility, and patience in our relationships with one another.

In addition to living a life of righteousness and obedience, seeking God’s will is another crucial aspect of being holy and acceptable to Him. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are instructed to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight. This passage emphasizes the importance of surrendering our own plans and desires to God and seeking His guidance in all aspects of our lives.

Moreover, in James 1:5, we are told that if any of us lacks wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to us. This verse reminds us that God is always willing to provide us with the wisdom and guidance we need to live a holy and acceptable life, and we should not hesitate to seek His help in our times of need.

3. The Transformation of Our Minds

In Romans 12:2, Paul continues, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This verse highlights the importance of transforming our minds in order to live a life pleasing to God.

Being transformed by the renewing of our minds involves actively rejecting the world’s values and replacing them with God’s truth. This process requires diligent study of the Bible, prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we allow God’s Word to shape our thoughts and beliefs, we will be better equipped to discern His will for our lives and live according to His plan.

4. Proving God’s Will

The ultimate goal of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices and renewing our minds is to “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The word “prove” in this context means to test, approve, or discern. As we dedicate ourselves to God and seek His guidance, we will gain a clearer understanding of His will for our lives.

In order to prove God’s will, we must be willing to listen to His voice and follow His leading. This may involve stepping out of our comfort zones, trusting Him in times of uncertainty, and making difficult choices. However, as we faithfully obey God, we will experience the joy and fulfillment that come from living in accordance with His perfect plan.

5. Living in Light of God’s Mercy

The call to present our bodies as living sacrifices is rooted in the mercies of God. Romans 12:1 begins with the phrase, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God…” This reminder of God’s mercy should motivate us to live a life fully surrendered to Him.

God’s mercy is evident throughout the Bible, from His forgiveness of Israel’s sins to His ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, for our redemption. As we reflect on God’s mercy and grace, we should be inspired to live a life that honors and glorifies Him.

Share this article

Written by : Ministério Veredas Do IDE

Leave A Comment

Follow us
Latest articles