" 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." (Romans 12:1)
He, the Son of God, who was with God in the beginning (John 1:2) and who was beside Him and ‘was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him’ (Proverbs 8:30), was sent into this wicked world, by God with the name Jesus, in the form of man according to His will.
“Jesus, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
Yes, although He was the Son of God, He humbled Himself before God to the point of death, even to the death of the cross. That is why we see God telling several times in the Bible "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; II Peter 1:17).
As we carefully and fearfully follow the footsteps of Jesus and walk by the very example of His life (I Peter 2:21), God shall as well lead us and make us walk in is holy ways and help us present ourselves as living sacrifice, and shall stop us from moving towards the wicked ways of the world.
How to be a holy, living sacrifice that is pleasing to God?
The sacrifice of praise that gives out fragrance is one of the sacrifices that pleases God. David sang, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). That’s why the Lord was pleased with him and even testified about him and called David ‘a man after My own heart’. Similarly, God graciously saved Noah, one of the men of God who walked with Him, from the devastating floods. Noah along with his family offered praises to God and we read in the Bible that to God it was like a ‘soothing aroma’ (Genesis 8:20,21). As were, when the saints sent thanksgiving offering from the city of Philippi, Apostle Paul writes that he received it as a ‘sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God’. (Philippians 4:18).
Even Lord Jesus offered a sacrifice of praise from the depth of His heart to the Father as He stood at the tomb of Lazarus before raising him from the dead and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me”(John 11:41). Only then Lazarus, who was dead and buried, came back to life by the glory of God’s mighty power. Moreover, in order to redeem us from sin, curse, unrighteousness and transgression (John 3:16), He gave Himself as an offering and a sacrifice on the cross for a sweet smelling aroma, in accordance to God’s ordinance (Ephesians 5:2).
Napoleon the great, was the ruler of France. He waged wars and possessed many kingdoms with the strength of his army. However, there came a time when he was overpowered by his enemies, arrested and was imprisoned on an island. There in that island, once as he was gazing at the waves in isolation, he remembered Christ and the glory of Calvary that manifested through His sacrificial offering. He said, “Oh, Jesus! I have killed scores of people with the strength of my army and have seized several kingdoms. You, on the other hand, have become the King of kings in the hearts of millions by Your divine love and without weapons. How precious is Your love!”
Yes, since He has offered Himself on the cross as the living sacrifice, even today the children of wrath and the wicked ones (Ephesians 2:3), living a horrible life, commit their life to the Lord and become His children.
The life of a man called Saul who grieved the Lord and indulged in things against Him was totally transformed into a servant, fulfilling His work.
When Saul became Paul, Lord Jesus said, “....he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake” (Acts 9:15,16).
Yes, don’t we read how he was constrained and broken through sufferings so that his life becomes a living sacrifice of aroma, pleasing to God? That’s why St. Paul says, “...I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus’’ (Galatians 6:17).
This is also the sacrificial offering that proceeds from the life of everyone who loves the Lord. We may experience tears and afflictions because of the sufferings and sorrows we undergo as we follow Him wholeheartedly. Every shame, suffering and distress we undergo for the sake of God’s name, would be manifested as a sweet smelling aroma in His sight. Those who have committed their lives for the Lord, have lost their health, underwent sufferings and sorrows for Him and this is like a sweet smelling aroma, to God. Their reward would be great in Heaven.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in Heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets” (Luke 6:22, 23).
Jesus, who offered Himself on the cross as a sacrifice, is today seated at the right hand of The Father in all honour. Similarly, we, who commit ourselves as the holy, living sacrifice would be honoured by God. Hence, let us not be weary over our sufferings but let us commit our lives as a holy sacrifice for God just as the disciples “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name ”(Acts 5:41).
In the initial days of Jesus Calls ministry, as we tried implementing several things as per the Lord’s leading, the sufferings, shame and the reproaches that we underwent were plenty. We felt as though we were pierced by arrows from all sides. Yet as
our eyes were upon the ‘hill from where comes the help’, we were strengthened even in the midst of those critical times; we were emboldened.
‘...the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits’ (Daniel 11:32).
Accordingly, by the filling of God’s strength and grace, the presence of God beautifully led us to accomplish all that God wanted us to do and made us victorious in everything.
As an example, Jesus Christ offered His life on the cross as the sweet smelling propitiation and fulfilled the will of God. Accordingly, let us as well fully commit our lives as sweet smelling sacrifice for His service. What a joy when the Lord accomplishes the things that He wants us to do! The Lord Jesus too considered this joy and endured the sacrifice of cross in order to give out sweet smelling aroma and is today seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Romans 8:34). God will hold your hands and lead you in order that this sweet smelling aroma would proceed from you through your offering of sacrifice.