In the previous parts, I explained the first essential step toward the goal of “How to Find God’s Plan for Your Life.” that is, to let God deal in a radical way with the consequences of sin in our life and then by a divine creative act to form us into a completely new creation, a completely new kind of person.
The further unfolding of God’s plan is only open to those who have first experienced this mighty creative act of God. In this part, I’m going to begin to explain to you the next step which follows on from this creative act.
I’ll turn first to Romans 12:1. This chapter of Romans begins the practical outworking of all the theological truths that Paul has been unfolding in the first 11 chapters of Romans. It takes the theory of the first 11 chapters and applies it in practice to the way that we live. It begins with a “therefore” and I’ve said many times, “When you find a `therefore’ in the Bible, you need to ask what it’s there for.” This “therefore” is there because it’s the practical application of all the theology that’s gone before. Paul says:
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
What impresses me about the Bible is that it’s so practical, so downtoearth. It’s not superspiritual. We’ve been confronted with all this tremendous theology of the preceding chapters. Where does the application start? It starts with our body. The first thing that God asks is that we present this body of ours to Him, a living sacrifice.
You might say, “Well, I thought the body wasn’t so important, that it was really the soul that was important. But God is very practical. You see, if there’s a glass of water standing on the table and I’d say to you, “Please hand me that glass.” What am I getting? I’m getting the vessel and its contents. And, as a matter of fact, you really can’t give God the contents unless you give Him the vessel. So God wants you, the vessel, and its contents.
God says it’s to be a “living sacrifice.” What does that mean? It’s contrasted with the sacrifices of the Old Testament, where animals were offered in sacrifice, killed and placed as dead bodies on the altar of God. God says, “I want your body just as much, just as completely, on My altar as that Old Testament sacrifice. But there’s one difference. I don’t want your dead body. I want it a living sacrifice.”
You see how very down-to-earth God is. He says, “It’s your body I want. And when I have your body, I have you.”
Father, I want to thank You that You are so practical. I thank You that my body is important for You. Help me to lay my body, every day, on Your altar, as a living sacrifice, so You can change the content, my thoughts, my heart, my inner being, into the likeness of Christ Jesus, Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, amen!