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.— Romans 12:1
We’ve been looking at how Paul describes the sacrifice of a Christian’s life to God. He points out five characteristics:
- 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 saw how our sacrifice should be HOLY. This does not mean we are living completely without sin. Rather, this sacrifice is one wherein we are constantly searching our hearts to get rid of anything unacceptable to our Lord. The lambs of the Old Testament sacrifices were without blemish but still under the curse of sin, pointing to the perfect Lamb ENTIRELY without blemish and not under the curse of sin. We are to live our lives without blemish, subduing our sin nature in obedience to our Lord, pointing to the time when we WILL be COMPLETELY without blemish no longer under the curse of sin. We are called to be HOLY. We are also called to be ACCEPTABLE.
The Sacrifice Must Be Acceptable
Those saved by the grace of God are acceptable in position already. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God…” (I John 3:2). “Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are might nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Though we were once completely unable to stand in the presence of God, by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus we have been adopted into the family of God! We can now go boldly to God’s throne of grace. Just recently the pope announced that people who are unable to go to a priest for confession due to the coronavirus shutdown can go directly to God. God’s people have ALWAYS been able to go directly to God with or without the permission of the pope! I’m wondering what they will do for those who cannot partake in mass. According to their theology, by continually partaking in mass, they are able to obtain grace to fulfill the will of God for each week. How will they find grace to fulfill God’s will if they cannot partake in mass! This doctrine the Catholic church teaches blasphemes the name of Jesus Christ. They try to crucify our Lord every week! In the book of Hebrews we read this about Jesus,
“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did ONCE, when he offered up himself.” – Hebrews 7:27
Our Lord only offered himself up ONCE! THAT IS ALL THAT WAS NEEDED! The TRUE Redeemed of the Lord can AT ANY TIME come boldly before God’s throne without the permission of the pope. By the blood of Jesus, we are made acceptable in POSITION before God.
Being acceptable in POSITION is just a fact for the Born-Again Believer. However, we are called to be acceptable in PRESCRIPTION. The doctor will provide details and instructions in the form of a prescription for his patient. Consequences may follow if the patient does not follow the doctor’s will. We are called to be acceptable to God, conforming completely to the will of the Lord.
Cain offered of the fruit of the ground in Genesis 4. This was UNACCEPTABLE to God. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22b). “Remission” means “forgiveness.” It was not just Cain’s attitude which was the problem. He quite possibly offered the best vegetables his garden produced, but his sacrifice did not conform to God’s PLAN. We must conform to God’s design. Not just any sacrifice can be offered. We may say, “Lord, I’ll sacrifice such-and-such to you.” The Lord does not want such-and-such. He wants US. He has a designed plan for every single one of us. We must desire to follow this prescription.
Can you confidently say right now that you are in the will of God? Do you have a desire to conform to God’s plan? Our plans are fallible. We cannot know the future. God desires us to sacrifice our whole entire lives to Him willingly, entirely, devotedly, and obediently in holiness. He alone knows our future. This is not just our duty. This is a PRIVILEGE! This is our reasonable service. Who better to sacrifice TODAY to than the God who holds TOMORROW?!
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress:
My God; in him will I trust.”
– Psalm 91:1-2