The Heart of a Living Sacrifice–Part One

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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God…Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:1-2, 9).

Romans 12:9 describes three essential characteristics of the heart of a living sacrifice which is holy and acceptable to God.

Genuine love. The greatest commandment and its corollary are to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31). Both your vertical love for God and your horizontal love for those made in God’s image must be gen­uine. As perfectly demonstrated by Christ, loving God necessitates continuous, sincere, and joy­ful obedience to His will; loving your neighbor requires a keen desire and determination to pursue what is in his best interest regardless of the cost to you.

Abhorrence of evil. Because it is never in anyone’s best interest, evil is abhorred, loath­ed, despised, detested by a holy living sacrifice. Moral neutrality is not a sign of maturity or genuine enlightenment. Loving God requires you to hate what God hates; compromising with evil is incompatible with genuine love.

Passionate for goodness. God is good (Psalm 106:1). Because He was good, Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). A living sacrifice is to be good (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 2:5) and to do good to all (Galatians 6:10). Being “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18), “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14), and “careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8, 14) are essential to those “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Such devotion to good does not happen accidentally. It never will.

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Author: jchowning

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