A Living Sacrifice (Long)By: Joseph H. Murray
“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. 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” (Rom. 12:1–2).
Jesus could not become God’s living sacrifice until He was crucified, risen from the dead, and ascended to heaven, and offered Himself without spot to God.
“And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever--” (“but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” [Heb. 9:26]; Where did He make this sacrifice? In God’s Holy temple in heaven, in the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, where no one could enter but the High Priest) “--sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb. 10:11–13).
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated (or new made) for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:19–22).
I know of one in heaven who became God’s living sacrifice, and that is Jesus, and I know of one on earth who made such an assumption of himself while living, and that was the Apostle Paul.
He said these words in his writings to the Galatians: “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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” (Gal. 2:19–20).
Jesus came down from heaven and took on Himself a natural body and was tempted in all points as we are and did no sin, was arrested, tried and crucified and was dead 3 days and 3 nights and arose, ascended to heaven to appear in the presence of God’s Holy of Holy Place to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the whole world.
He did all the things in the flesh–circumcision, baptism, crucifixion–and passed through the veil of this fleshly existence to open the door into the Holiest Place for us to enter by a new and living way to God.
Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin (or by a sacrifice for sin), condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:1–14).
Jesus lived a sinless life here because He was anointed of God to do so for us. When He was broken as God’s perfect sacrificial Lamb, He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven to present Himself, a living sacrifice as an offering for our sins, and being accepted of God, He sent part of Himself, in the Spirit form, on the day of Pentecost to enable us to be what He was while He was here (John 14:12).
And it is the part of Him that we receive that makes us the living sacrifice that He requires of us. He does not request that we be like Him to meet Him at His coming back and be accepted of Him, but He demands it of us.
The final proof of our status as a living sacrifice is to offer ourselves to God without spot or fault and be accepted of Him just as Jesus did as recorded in Heb. 9:14.
“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:11–13).
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: (a living sacrifice) by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).