The sacrifice God desires: A living sacrifice

Romans_12-1The Verse of the Day for October 29, 2015 is taken from Romans 12:1 in the Amplified Bible:

[ Dedicated Service ] Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.

Bible scholar E.W. Bullinger points out that the first time that a particular word is used in the Bible marks its significance and importance when studying the word. Such is the case with the word “worship” which is first mention in the account where Abraham prepares to take his son, Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22:5 (Amplified Bible):

Abraham said to his servants, “Settle down and stay here with the donkey; the young man and I will go over there and worship [God], and we will come back to you.”

We are familiar with what occurs when the voice of the Lord speaks and intervenes, sparing Isaac’s life. This first usage of worship indicates that God does not desire human sacrifices. The Psalmist declares that God does not delight in sacrifice, that He is not pleased with burnt offering, but that He delights in sacrifices of righteousness (Psalm 51)

When we think of worship we recall the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. In a discussion about the place of worship, the Lord spoke these words:

John 4:23-25 (NKJV):

God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

One expression of worship involves our offering praise and thanksgiving unto God, that is the “sacrifice of praise . . . the fruit of our lips,” whereby we declare that He is worthy of our worship and adoration. The Alleluia Singers offer an illustration of this kind of worship in “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise.”

Another expression of worship involves doing or serving, as we follow God’s command and make a sacrifice to do His will, to serve Him alone. We recognize that to obey God is better than to sacrifice our lives in the same way that animals are sacrificed. God desires that each believers offer his or her life as a living sacrifice. In the closing stanza of “Stone upon Stone: A Psalm of Remembrance,” I describe twelve stones, representing milestones or accomplishments from my life over the years. In closing, I symbolically build an altar from these twelve stones and offer myself as an offering, echoing the words Romans 12:1

El–stone upon stone–Bethel–I build this altar.

In the center of this altar burns fire, white-hot

as the cloven tongues appearing at Pentecost,

a flaming fire, refueled by the oil of blessing,

this unction, anointing, ignited by the spark,

tabernacled in me twenty-six years ago;

consuming desire, empowered by the spirit,

seeking to forge with words, this joy unspeakable.

Enflamed with a new name and transformed to offer

all I am and all I ever hope to be

a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable,

a lively stone, known, read by all with eyes to see.

So I return to teach the meaning of these stones.

 El–stone upon stone I build this altar–Beth-el

A musical illustration of Romans 12:1 is “Take My Life—A Living Sacrifice”  by Chris Christian

The Verse of the Day reminds us of our “reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Listen to the Romans 12-1-2 Song “A Living Sacrifice” (Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song with Lyrics:

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