Surrender: A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This passage gives us a greater perspective on what it means to live a life of surrender. Paul begins by addressing believers in Christ. There is a lot of passion displayed in these verses as Paul ‘begs’ us as believers. He identifies the authority by which he speaks and that is by the mercies of God. In other words, it is by God’s mercy that Paul is able to present this message. God’s mercy is God not giving to us what we deserve. We deserve death. We deserve judgment for our sin. We deserve hell. In God’s great love for us, he does not give us what we deserve. Therefore, Paul begs us to live a life of surrender. Since God has shown us mercy, we should in turn live a life that is totally surrendered to Him. What does it mean for us to surrender? It means that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Living a life of surrender is not just a spiritual thing. A life of surrender is very practical and real. We are to present our ‘bodies’, our physical selves to God. In other words, everything about us must be given over to Christ. We have no power over our selves. The body that we make as a living sacrifice to God must be a holy one. It must be set-apart for the glory of God. It must be pure in thought and in deeds. To be holy is to be perfect. We are to be perfect as Christ is perfect. We are to present to God a perfect sacrifice, just as Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It is this holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God. This is the essence of true worship. The only worship that God accepts is our lives. God is not looking for a song or a raised hand; He is looking for a life that is wholly devoted to Him. He is looking for people who have consecrated themselves. He desires a pure heart not just an action or work. It is this kind of sacrifice; it is this life of surrender that is acceptable to God. This holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God is our reasonable service. In other words, this is our purpose. We were created for the purpose of bringing glory to God. We were created to surrender. The conclusion of the matter, what life is all about, is to fear God and to keep His commandments. The purpose of life is to worship God with our lives. Our purpose is to live for Him. Our purpose is to not do what brings us joy but what brings joy to the heart of God. But, how do we do this? After all, we are not perfect. How do we present our bodies as living and holy sacrifice to God? We do it through surrender. How do we surrender? The answer is given to us in two parts in verse two. First all, we must not be conformed to this world. Conforming to this world is adopting this world’s system. Not conforming to the world does not just mean that we don’t sin. Conforming to the world produces sin. We sin as a result of our conforming to the world. If we can learn to not conform to the world, we could live complete holy lives before God. To conform to the world is to accept a secular world-view. This begins when we question the authority of God’s Word. This is what Satan did in the garden when he tempted Eve. He asked the question, ‘did God really say that?’ He said, ‘God really did it mean it that way.’ Unfortunately, we do the same thing today. We twist scripture to make it fit with our lives. We interpret scripture based on our preference and our comfort. We do not take the scripture for what it says. This is what it means to be conformed to the world. It is to downplay the authority of God’s Word in our lives. When we question the Word of God and we do not interpret the Word of God in a literal and historical way it allows us to justify the things we do. It gives us room to justify sin. This conforming to a secular world-view leads to sin and sorrow. In order to surrender, in order to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, we must have a high view of scripture and we must never question the authority and finality of God’s Word. The second answer to the question of surrender is that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we are transformed, we become acceptable to God. In other words, in order to surrender, we must change. To transform is to be made completely new. We are new creatures in Christ. This transformation is not something that we can do. It is something that Christ does in us. Once again, it all goes back to surrender. We must allow Christ to change us. How do we do this? By renewing our minds. To renew is to make new. It is to get rid of the old and to change. This renewing of our minds is a daily process. We do so through our submission to the authority of God’s Word on daily basis. We must be renewed every day. In order to live a life of surrender, we must change every day. The question is, ‘are you allowing God to change you?’ What is it about yourself that you are not willing to change? Is there something that you have been ‘conformed’ to that you just cannot let go of? Jesus came in order to make all things new. Are you being made new? Are you living a life of surrender?

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