How Then Shall We Live?

Read: Romans 12:1-2

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. (v. 1)

In Romans, chapters 1-11, Paul shows that God’s mercies in Christ to us are undeserved, unearned, and beyond description. All we can say is, “To him be glory forever” (Rom. 11:36). If this is true, how then shall we live in view of God’s mercies? Paul answers that question in chapters 12-16.

Life as a believer becomes shaped by the instruction to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (v. 1). Old Testament Israel offered a lamb on an altar. The lamb’s blood sprinkled on the base represented the price of forgiveness in God’s covenant with the people of Israel, based on his covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15). Smoke rising from the burnt offering became “a pleasing aroma to the LORD’’ (Num. 15:3). Jesus’ death on the cross is the perfect and final sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:14). Afterward, there is no more shedding of blood. Instead, we become “a living sacrifice.” This is our “spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).

To be a living sacrifice means that all our relationships and activities now magnify the one worthy of worship. This begins as we are transformed by the renewal of our minds (v. 2). Notice that we don’t transform our minds. God transforms us as we spend time daily in Scripture and in prayer. Our transformation in living this new life becomes an aroma pleasing to God (Heb. 13:16). —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.