In Romans chapters 1 to 11, Paul the Apostle wrote extensively on how the GRACE OF GOD saved mankind in Christ Jesus, turning sinners into beloved children of God. Hallelujah!

Immediately after this, from chapter 12 onward, Paul began to teach HOW believers must respond to that amazing message of grace. Until a believer studies and thoroughly understands Romans 1 – 11, there’s no way he can ever TRULY practice what Paul wrote in Romans 12 onward! When was the last time you studied Romans 1 – 11?

Here’s the first line of Romans 12, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies A LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God….” Paul ended the sentence by describing this as our “… REASONABLE SERVICE…” to God.
So, in essence, what does it mean to present our bodies as A LIVING SACRIFICE to God?
The answer is straightforward. It means the life that we had, before coming to Christ, EXPIRED as we came to Him for salvation! At that point, that life became INVALID, UNTENABLE, and UNUSABLE. Instead of that previous life, we got a BRAND NEW LIFE in Christ Jesus. A NEW CREATION that did not exist previously. (2 Cor 5:17)
Thus, presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God entails walking DAILY in the FULL KNOWLEDGE that the old life is TRULY GONE!!! Gone forever! Gone with its desires, its passions, its ambition, its intellect, its possessions, its status, its connections, its opinion, and so on. ALL gone! Forever.

Instead, we now have a BRAND-NEW LIFE - with a new identity, new purpose, new priorities, new passion, and a new destiny. The Bible describes the outgoing life and the new, incoming life in these words: “I have been CRUCIFIED with Christ, nevertheless, I LIVE…. (Gal 2:20)
A believer who does not see this truth clearly can never, ever present his body to God as a living sacrifice. For he has nothing to present! Until we recognize and accept that our old life has expired, we cannot embrace our new life in Christ; or walk in its spiritual reality.

This is the A-B-C of following Jesus, as He said in Luke 14:33, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” The meaning is clear. As we seek to follow Jesus, all that WE ARE and all that WE HAVE would have to go. Without this, we have nobody to present as a living sacrifice to God.
When we TRULY and FULLY embrace this truth, the stage is set for us to move forward in presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice. For, at that time, we’ll begin to cooperate with heaven in ‘ENFORCING THE MANDATE’ of our crucifixion with Christ.

Heaven enforces this mandate by DAILY using THE CROSS to weaken both the power and the influence of our expired life – so that the NEW LIFE of Christ within us may blossom and flourish (2 Cor 4:11). This process is usually painful, often attracting shame, as heaven works to deliver us from the power of the SELF-life.
The believer that submits to this gruesome process, looking forward to its sanctifying work, is the believer that is TRULY presenting himself to God as a living sacrifice. That gruesome process will involve all kinds of suffering, persecution, affliction, deprivation, ostracization, and so on. That is the work of THE CROSS.

It is when we cooperate with this process that the words of this exhortation are fulfilled in our lives - “And he died for all, that those who live MIGHT NO LONGER LIVE FOR THEMSELVES but for him who for their sake died and was raised”. (2 Cor 5:15)
A believer that is still under the influence and power of the old life can never, ever TRULY live for Christ as that verse says! At best, he will live partly for Christ, and partly for SELF. This is a recipe for lukewarmness in the Spirit. A condition that will cause the Lord to vomit such a believer from his mouth.

It is for this reason that Jesus often emphasized that a believer who does not HATE/LOSE his life in this world will NOT find it in eternity (Matt 10:39, Mark 8:35, John 12:25, etc.). That is the believer who wants to present his body as a living sacrifice must thoroughly HATE his life in this world.
This is how a believer grows in the Spirit. In His mercy, God will supply the necessary grace for us to do this, but unless we engage with that grace in submission, nothing will happen! This is what Paul described as receiving the grace of God IN VAIN. (2 Cor 6:1)

Today, MOST believers are NOT engaging with this grace for this important work of the Spirit. They are receiving the grace of God IN VAIN by focussing on their old life - how to SECURE that life, how to IMPROVE that life, how to PROSPER that life. 
This is why our churches are today filled with lukewarm and spiritually dead believers who do not know what it means to live for Christ. Or, what it means to SEEK and LIVE for His Kingdom on earth - Matt 6:33. (Although they can quote the Bible from cover-to-cover, and argue on doctrinal matters on social media from dawn to dusk!!!).

However, when a believer engages with the grace of God to present his body as a living sacrifice, it is easy to know. Such believers have an IDENTIFYING MARK on their lives. This mark is the SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE. Gratitude to God for ALL things that He allows to come their way – good or bad.
They are grateful in persecution, in distress, in plenty, in lack, in health, in sickness, in pain, in joy, in affliction. For they know that their lives are FIRMLY in the hands of a loving, caring Father who neither slumbers nor sleeps.

They know that, with God as a Father, ALL THINGS work together for good for them – because they love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It is to this faithful Father that they have presented their bodies as a living sacrifice, to be used as HE deems fit and for His glory.
Brethren, this is the caliber of believers that the Lord seeks in this end-time. Men and women that are losing their lives DAILY – because they had already lost their lives FULLY in Christ on the Cross of Calvary.

Many believers of today do NOT harp on this message – because they are more focused on membership numbers and offerings. Instead of focusing on the truth ALONE. This is why MOST believers of today are more connected to their churches/denominations than to Jesus Christ!
This is NOT a minor error. It is an error with eternal consequences. Jesus will tell lots and lots of believers, “… I NEVER KNEW YOU, depart from me….” (Matt 7:23). He NEVER knew them because they NEVER truly possessed His life. Rather, they had their own lives, and simply put His name on their lips.
Today, however, repentance is still possible. There are three things we can begin to do today to enhance our capacity to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.

First, let’s go back to study Romans 1 – 11 again and again. And then, again and again, if necessary! We need to understand what Jesus has already accomplished for us at Calvary. What Jesus did for us is the ENGINE of what we are called to do in response. Without this ENGINE, we are going nowhere in the Christian faith.

Second, we must agree with God that no good thing dwells in our old life (Rom 7:18). It is ONLY Christ in us that is the hope of glory (Col 1:27). Therefore, we must be hungry to be rid of the old life – along with all its ‘glories’ and ‘achievements’. Paul considered his as DUNG – just so that he may win Christ (Col 3:3-10).
The believers of today no longer think in this sacrificial way of THE CROSS. We need to repent. We need to go back to the words of Jesus on ‘HATING’ our lives in this world (John 12:25). We must be hungry for THE CROSS to do its work of weakening the influence of our old life on us – even rejoicing in its gruesome work, as Paul did in 2 Cor 12:10.

Third, we must take all these issues to God CONSTANTLY in the place of prayer! Only God Himself can work out these matters in our lives. No man can weaken his flesh by himself. The Bible makes it clear that it is God who works in our lives to do His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).
So, in the place of prayer, we must display our hunger for the fullness of Christ. The fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that it is only THE HUNGRY that shall be filled (Matt 5:6).
As we do all these in earnest, we can trust the faithfulness of God to perfect the work of salvation that He started in our lives (Phil 1:6). more as the day of the Lord approaches rapidly.

To those who are willing, the grace of God is available to help. Available to transform us into zealous believers who present their bodies as LIVING SACRIFICE to God. Holy and acceptable in His sight. Amen.

Thanks for reading, God bless you.

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