Romans 12:2 Reflections by Campus Minister Jeff Ingram

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. (Romans 12:1-2)

 

I’ve read this passage so many times that I had almost forgotten what a profound oxymoron Paul’s use of the phrase “living sacrifice” really is. A sacrifice is something that is given up, or from the historical context in which Paul is writing, an animal that is killed as an act of worship. The word sacrifice; carries a connotation of death and of blood atonement, so for Paul to tell us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice is truly an astonishing concept.

What a shift in thinking from an Old Covenant and its requirements of regular animal sacrifice that never completely covered our sin, to a New Covenant built on the all sufficient once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus that forever covers our sins. Undoubtedly, this “living sacrifice” language is what Jesus had in mind when he said, whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it”. But what does it really mean to be a “living sacrifice” each day?

What does this look like? Here are a few of my reflections on what it may look like for us to be a
“living sacrifice” today…

  • We become a living sacrifice when we stop demanding our rights and instead genuinely repent of our wrongs.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we base our decisions on Godly wisdom and not the false wisdom of this world
  • We become a living sacrifice when we approach encounters with all people with grace and truth, not discrimination and prejudice.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a lost and hurting world.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we make difficult decisions to speak the truth instead of the easy lie.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we place the needs of others above our own.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we forgive others as freely as we have been forgiven by God.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we offer real love to others in spite of our many differences.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we suffer for doing good, but do it anyway, even when no one else knows.
  • We become a living sacrifice when our first response to situations is mercy and compassion, not judgment and condemnation.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we decide to give until it hurts.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we step out of our comfort zones and move into those places where things get messy.
  • We become a living sacrifice when we bring peace and rest into places of confusion and chaos.
  • We become a living sacrifice when arrogance and pride are driven out of our hearts by gentleness and humility.

Finally, we become a living sacrifice when we die so that we can finally live!