Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices... Romans 12:1
I've heard the comment that the difficult part about being a living sacrifice is staying on the altar.
This morning, while pondering Beth Crawford's Bible study on this passage, I saw something different.
WE ARE TO GET UP OFF THE ALTAR!
... holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do 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. Romans 12:1-2
"Holy and pleasing to God... act of worship" - the act is not laying still on the altar. The self we have to sacrifice is not holy and pleasing. But we can be holy and pleasing to God when we exchange our self-directed life for the Spirit-directed life. By doing so, we will be transformed and we will not conform to the patterns of this world. Then, not in our dead sacrifice but in our living, holy, pleasing, transformed self, we will be able to know God's will.
Beth references Hebrews 9:14 which tells us that it is the unblemished sacrifice of Christ that cleanses us so that (I love the "so that's" in scripture)... "so that we may serve the living God!"
I have noted in my margin Colossians 3:1 which says "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above." And Galatians 5:16 - "live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
Yes, we put to death the old self. But much more importantly, we live as Christ lived.
I just think that's cool - focus on life, not death. Don't take my word for it. Go study the passage for yourself. Romans 12:1-2
It’s heartbreaking that the Good News of Jesus Christ is so often reduced to answering a question about where we’d go if we died today. Our Lord was resurrected from the dead! He is about life, not death. ~ Colin J. Tuggle Living in His Grip