A Biblical Command
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
To offer our bodies as a living sacrifice is a Biblical commandment, yet for many Christians in the West it’s an ambiguous one. What does it truly mean to give our flesh and blood bodies as a sacrifice? To withhold nothing- not even our very selves? Too often this instruction gets overlooked, puzzling the non persecuted church, and is soon forgotten.
The Command Lived Out
For the underground church, this verse is more than just a skim over part of Romans- it’s the very foundation on which they build a framework for the suffering they endure.
Christians in countries of high persecution face abuse, rape, mutilation, torture, and death. Yet to those who hold fast to the truth of Romans 12, it’s no less than they expect. To present the body as a living sacrifice is to release control of what happens to us. It is to see glory in the surrender of the physical body for the sake of Christ, whatever the outcome. A Living Sacrifice – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and To be “a living sacrifice” is to be fully at God’s disposal—to be available and willing to obey God in whatever he asks or commands. In other words, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
The Surrendered Life
Biblically, we see this verse lived out in many members of the early, persecuted church. One of the most profound examples is Paul. Throughout the New Testament he presented his body as a living sacrifice, and it made him untouchable. When they beat him, he glorified Christ. When they imprisoned him, he wrote letters that set the world on fire. When they threatened to kill him, he rejoiced that he would soon be with Jesus. His body was nothing but a vessel for glory and a sacrifice on the altar: wood kindled, smoke burning- ready to create a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The underground church has uncovered his same secret. And it’s making them just as untouchable.
Where the underground church faces the highest persecution rates, we have continually noted that they are also seeing the fastest growth worldwide. When you accept on the front end that the very worst they can do to you is no less than what you’ve sworn to give, you have nothing to lose.
The underground church has learned to take Romans 12 at face value, and by doing so has gained a freedom that only comes in full surrender.
A Call to All
The global church must learn this same lesson. The day may come when persecution strikes and by choosing to surrender now, we can be ready. Like Mary of Bethany, breaking the jar of perfume at the feet of Jesus, we too can learn an intimate surrender that says ‘Jesus, You can have it all.’ The same sweet aroma of A Living Sacrifice can be freely given even where persecution does not yet exist; if we choose to surrender our bodies, our plans, our finances, our possessions, and our very selves for the sake of Christ.
This is why, at Global Catalytic Ministries, one of our Vision Statements is: We offer our bodies as living sacrifices. To love Him so much that nothing else matters. He is worth it all.