At this point in Romans, Paul seems to be moving away from his preoccupation with the Jewish Christians, and starts talking like a pastor. That said, we still need to remember who the first readers of this letter were and how it would impact them. What does it mean, for example, to offer your body as a living sacrifice?
Well, normally, a sacrifice was slain. We are to be a
living sacrifice. And it is our
bodies—not merely our hearts and minds. We are to act with our feet, our hands, our bodies, as a sacrifice to God. Now, to be sure, their bodies were in danger in that world, but they had to throw themselves into the fight, anyhow.
Therefore, 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.
Paul’s word choices here for what some translations render
spiritual service of worship deserve a closer look. So let’s get started this evening in Romans, chapter 12.