“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.”
In Old Testament times, bringing a sacrifice to the priest was something every Israelite was familiar with doing. Animals were brought for offerings, not to take away sins but as an expression of faith in the coming Messiah who would provide salvation through His blood. Hebrews 10:12 contrasts the work of the priests whose work never finished with the completed ministry of Jesus Christ who “after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
Though the sacrifices for sin are finished, there is still a sacrifice we are to make—of ourselves. We are exhorted to place our bodies at the complete disposal of God. There is a beautiful picture of this in the story of Abraham and Isaac. God instructed Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice. Though Isaac was a strong young man and Abraham was well over one hundred years old, Isaac willingly allowed himself to be placed upon the altar.
Our tendency is to regard making such a sacrifice as something large and out of the ordinary. Yet Paul described it as “reasonable service.” In light of all that God has done for us, providing us the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, sending the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and promising to hear our prayers and supply our needs, it is not at all unreasonable for us to cheerfully offer ourselves for His service. Those who truly understand the magnitude and wonder of salvation will not hold back from yielding their lives to the King who rescued them.