Be a Living and Holy Sacrifice

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Paul spent the first two-thirds of his letter to the Roman Christians explaining the principle of salvation by grace through faith. In Romans chapters 9-11, he explained how the Jewish people and the promises of the Father to Abraham fit into that plan for salvation. This explanation was important since many Jews in Paul’s time rejected the Father’s message of grace through Me and many Gentiles accepted this message. As Paul came to the end of this powerful teaching at the end of chapter 11, he finished with a burst of praise. Then in the first verses of chapter 12, he began the next part of his letter with a call to these Roman Christians to offer themselves to God as living sacrifices and to live for Him. Today’s Scripture is one of the most beautiful and cherished passages in your New Testament.

First, Paul acknowledged that the Father’s plan is challenging and not easy to understand. It is both glorious and challenging. Paul’s words are an admission in praise that you cannot begin to understand all of the Father’s ways. The finite human mind cannot begin to imagine the plans of mercy and grace of the infinite and almighty Holy One of heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12). Your mortal brain cannot plumb the depths of meaning and heights of grace in the mind of YAHWEH, the Immortal One. So when you reach the point that your ability to understand the Father’s goodness is exhausted, praise Him! When your mind is confused about the ways of the Father and His plan of salvation, but astounded at His grace, then praise Him! No matter what you may not understand completely, know this: your Father in heaven loves you completely and sacrificially!

In the last paragraph in the verses below, Paul gave a concise but challenging summary of the response that should be made to the Father’s love and grace. This choice that the Roman Christians were challenged to make is also the choice you need to make today — and each day.

My beloved disciple, you — like these first-century believers in Rome — were redeemed at great cost. I did not, and I still do not regret that high price. However, the love behind this sacrifice that brought you mercy should capture your heart. It should convict you not to live like the rest of the world that does not know My love and the Father’s grace and mercy. Offer all that you are to the Father. That is what it means to love Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:28-30). Please notice that Paul pointed out that We will assist you in your efforts to know the Father’s will and to be transformed as you live for Us. Most of the remainder of this letter to the Romans was devoted to helping them and you love the Father with your all and love each other as the Father’s children (Mark 12:31).

Verses to Live

While the words speak for themselves, I want to ask you to do three things with today’s Scripture. First read the first set of verses down to Amen several times. Read these verses slowly. Read them out loud. Let the beauty of these words wash over you. Next, take a few minutes and pray a prayer of praise. Don’t ask for anything in this prayer. Instead, offer the Father praise for Who He is and what He has done as declared in Scripture to redeem you and adopt you into Our family. Finally, I want to encourage you to memorize the last paragraph. Even if you know it in another translation, put these words to memory and recite them each morning and each evening over the next week.

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?

Who knows enough to give him advice?

And who has given him so much

that he needs to pay it back?

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

(Romans 11:33-36 NLT; Romans 12:1-2 NLT)

Response in Prayer

O Father, You are “the highest God above, Who is and always will be, the only One Who is holy”! I am thankful that even though You “live in a high and holy place” You also have chosen to live with people like me — “the low, the weak, and the humble” to “renew [our] vitality and revive [our] strength.” I thank You for both Your awesome ways and Your gracious and merciful love. I offer myself to You because You alone are worth all that my life can be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Note: Today’s prayer is a response both to Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 57:15 and also to Paul’s words in the Scripture above.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.