Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Let’s look at the key word “living” in the phrase “living sacrifice.” It’s easy to just move right past that, but we have to think like the Romans here as we read this. The Jews back in the Old Testament had a sacrificial system where they killed an animal in order to meet the requirements God had put on them for forgiveness of their sins. Even the Pagans had a sacrificial system that involved death. The concept of a living sacrifice is new. It’s foreign. I can seem them going “What does he mean “living sacrifice?” It sounds like 2 words that contradict each other. How can something living be a sacrifice?
Paul says we have only 2 choices. Sacrifice ourselves for righteousness, that is life, or for sin, which is death. There are no other options.
A living sacrifice is two things, it’s spiritual because only one who has been made alive by Christ can BE a living anything, and it’s ongoing. It’s not a one shot deal. We’re living out our sacrifice.
Romans 6:13 says, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
The sacrifice we’re called to doesn’t bring us salvation or forgiveness. That’s finished. Jesus already did that. God found a way to be merciful to sinners in Jesus Christ. He sent Him on a mission to earth to redeem mankind through His sacrifice. But our sacrifice is in response to His and that’s what makes it, as Romans 12:1 says, “acceptable to God.”