I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…
God always must be served, and that by all. Angels refused to serve Him in heaven and were cast down to hell. Man refused to serve Him and was driven out of Paradise. There are four courses open to us. We may refuse by attempting to oppose and overcome God, or to escape Him, or to endure His wrath; or, we may submit and serve Him. Which of these shall we take? We cannot succeed in the first, the second, or the third; there is nothing therefore left but the fourth.
I. WHAT YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE IS.
1. The sacrifice to be offered must be —
(1) Holy. But how can we dare to lay any such sacrifices upon His altar? And if we dared, how could He accept? Turn aside and see how the priests used to act. Having killed the animal, they cut it open, and took out all that was unclean; and then, having, washed it, they consumed it on the altar with fire before the Lord. So our Great High Priest would wash us externally from our guilt in His own blood, and then, laying us open, would remove all that is corrupt within us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, that thus we may be laid as holy sacrifices upon the altar, and consumed before the Lord.
(2) Complete. Entire. "Your bodies" means yourselves. When the lamb was brought to the altar, the body was brought, and all that it contained. Your bodies are like precious caskets containing the more precious jewels of your souls and spirits. Keep back nothing. Ye are not your own, therefore "glorify God in your bodies," etc. If you want examples read Hebrews 11, or take the case of Paul; or, nobler far, look at Jesus, "who gave Himself for us."
2. The manner of offering it.
(1) Freely "present." Do not wait to be obliged, but come of your own accord. The principle is love. If you love God, you will present yourselves to God. Suppose you have a poor friend who asks for a small loan. If you love your money better than your friend, you will keep your money. If you love your money as much as your friend, you will, most likely, waver, and at last give it grudgingly. But if you love your friend better than your money, you will give the money freely.
3. Daily. When a lamb was brought to be offered, it was first cleansed, then bound, and then burned. Now that you may be living sacrifices, it is necessary that you should be daily cleansed, bound, and burned.
II. PAUL "BESEECHES YOU BY THE MERCIES OF GOD" TO PERFORM IT.
1. It is an appeal from the altar of God, from one who was himself, through the riches of the grace of God, a living sacrifice.
2. Look back through the Epistle for the mercies of which he speaks. Mark how he points out —
(1) Our sin and ruin.
(2) The mystery of our salvation through the riches of the grace of God.
3. If you have made the resolve to present yourselves to God, be encouraged to do so, for the text declares that this sacrifice is "acceptable to God." You see the altar, the cords for binding the sacrifice, the fire for burning it, the sacrifice laid on the wood, bound with cords, and burned. Now look to Him who sits upon the mercy-seat, in the most holy place, accepting it! And that you may understand how acceptable it is, remember that it is "bought with a price" — a "member of Christ" — and a "temple of the Holy Ghost."
(H. Grattan Guinness.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.