The Hands of a Living Sacrifice

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…distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality…Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men…Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good(Romans 12:1-2, 13, 17, 19-21).

A living sacrifice loves God with all his heart by being pure, tender, and joyful in heart; he loves God with all his soul by being fervent, dependent, gracious, and empathetic in spirit; he loves God with all his mind by being sober, humble, hope-filled, and patient/tough-minded. To love God with all his strength, he must be generous and gracious with his material blessings.

Generous hands do good to all, especially to those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). Needy brethren were the primary focus of Paul’s efforts in the Great Collection which he mentions in Romans 15:24-27. These funds were for liberal sharing with brethren and all men (2 Corinthians 9:13). Generous hands also pursue hospitality (“the love of strangers”). Verse 13 does not recommend or even urge the practice of hospitality; it enjoins the eager pursuit of it.

Gracious hands do not repay evil for evil. They are intentionally used to overcome evil with good by feeding a hungry enemy and giving a drink to one who thirsts. Instead of issuing fiery condemnation and retribution, the hands of a living sacrifice seek to heap coals of fire on his enemy’s head by being gracious and kind in response to harshness and mistreatment.

Being a holy, acceptable-to-God living sacrifice requires loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength in very specific ways.

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Author: jchowning

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