I’d like to look at the content of the familiar text of Romans 12:1. “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.”
First we must see that Paul is pleading with us, begging us to do something. He is very earnest about this, and he bases his appeal on the mercies of God.
What are these mercies of God? They are His tender mercies. He loves us in Christ, He has adopted us as His own children, He has extended forgiveness to us in Christ, and He has transferred us into the Kingdom of His Son. Not only that, but He has plans for us, plans that are good and acceptable and perfect.
Based on these mercies, what is it Paul is urging us to do? He wants us to give our bodies to God as a sacrifice. Not as a sacrifice to be slaughtered, but as a living sacrifice. He wants us to live on the altar of God. And when we give Him our body, our mind and spirit come along with it.
What kind of sacrifice is this? A holy one.
How does God like this idea? It is acceptable to Him.
Is this going above and beyond the Christian’s duty? No. It is only reasonable that creatures would render to their Creator such service.
How do you like this idea? Is it acceptable to you? If you’re not sure, go back to the beginning and consider God’s mercies. He is to be trusted.
Living on the altar brings about remarkable changes. You will be transformed, which means your will be made into something new. Your mind will be renewed. The deadness will fall away, and resurrection life will be ushered in. You will have an entirely different vantage point from the altar, and the view is spectacular.
You’ll see the world’s eagerness to get you to comply and follow, and you’ll turn a deaf ear.
How do we get there? Present your body to God: “Here I am, Lord. Do what you will with me. I am at your disposal to bring you glory any way you see fit because I know your will for me is good, acceptable, and perfect. My circumstances, my family, my home, my background, my health, my troubles, my blessings are all acceptable to me because they are acceptable to you.”
It turns out that living on God’s altar is the safest, most reasonable thing a creature can do.