O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.— Romans 11:33-12:2
- The sacrifice must be willing
- The sacrifice must be whole
- The sacrifice must be dedicated
- The sacrifice must be holy
- The sacrifice must be acceptable
Yesterday we began looking at what it means to PRESENT our bodies as a living a sacrifice. Today we pick up the study to look at what it means to sacrifice our BODIES.
The Sacrifice Must Be Whole
We are beseeched to present our BODIES. What does the word, “bodies,” mean in this verse? There are times when Paul mentions a special dichotomy of a person’s existence – the Body and the INDWELLING Holy Spirit (Romans 8:10-11,13,23; 1 Cor 6:20). Other times Paul mentions a dichotomy of a person’s existence consisting of the Body and the HUMAN Spirit (1 Cor 6:20; 7:34). Paul also mentions a trichotomy of a person’s existence – Body, Soul, and Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The word “body” can refer to the physical flesh (Romans 1:24; 7:24) but could also include the will of the flesh (Romans 6:6) and personal identity (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). In our passage the word refers to our whole entire being. This would include the mind, will, and emotions along with our physical flesh – any part of our existence which is fleshly and carnal.
We can devote our minds to God by dedicating our thoughts to Him. We spend so much time worrying about passing things and dwelling on sensual desires. Our minds need to be in subjection to the Lord.
We can devote our wills to God by dedicating our actions to Him. Our wills are carnal when we fail to give up fleshly habits. The fact is that although we all struggle with sin and battle the flesh, we can still have victory over individual sins (1 John 5:4-5). It takes sacrifice though. It means being willing to dedicate every little aspect of our being to the Lord’s service. I’ve heard Born-Again Believers say too many times, “well, this sin is just my besetting sin.” NO! It’s not JUST a besetting sin. It’s a sin FOR WHICH OUR PRECIOUS LORD DIED. Sin should not be taken lightly.
We can devote our emotions to God by making sure our feelings are in subjection to Him. It is a shame to see racetracks, football stadiums, and dance halls filled with exciting, thrilling emotions when churches are filled with dull, dreary, lifeless members led by a religious mortician. It is also a shame when hearts melt for abused pets but harden for lost sinners bound for hell. Bitterness and anger are emotions that can completely ruin the life of a Born-Again Believer. Let’s dedicate our excitement and enthusiasm to Him! Let’s make sure ALL our feelings are in subjection to the Lord.
In 1 Corinthians Paul is concerned about the fleshly desires of the physical body. “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body . . . What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (6:13, 19). Instead of submitting to our fleshly desires, we are told to glorify God in our bodies which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20). Our sacrifice must be WHOLE.