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. 2 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.
The earlier chapters in the book of Romans, up to chapter 11, deal primarily with what God has done for us (the indicatives) whilst chapters 12-16 deal with people's actions in response to God's (the imperatives).
Our conduct or what we ought to do must stem from our knowledge of what God has done, otherwise our imperatives are just pious morality adherences. It is in this context that we want to understand what living sacrifice means.
As born-again Christians, we are in Christ and Christ is in us (Jn. 6:54-56;.Gal. 2:20). These are our main indicatives. Our response in Christian living is as in Acts 17:28 ‘… for in Him we live, and move, and have our being…’. Christian living is simply living an exchanged life ‘not I, but Christ liveth in me’ (Gal. 2:20). What it basically means is that all our actions, whether the words we speak, the things we do or our very being, be an expression of the Son of God living through us.Paul aptly described it in this way: ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ (Phil. 1:21).
When we are born again, we are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:11). Hence, our Christian living is of Him, through Him and to Him. Period. Our flesh count for nothing.
A living sacrifice is a body that has been sacrificed (dead) but kept alive by the life giving Spirit. Hence, we present to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence on the life giving spirit,and nothing of ourselves (the flesh is dead, sacrificed!).
In summary, Christian living is a living sacrifice, beautifully expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20:
‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’
A Christian, armed with this understanding, can exude the fragrance of Christ so needed in Christianity today... so that we can bring Christ out to the world and the world can be attracted to the true God living in and through us….it is evangelism at its best.
We are kindly reminded of what Ghandi said :
‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’― Mahatma Gandhi