"A living sacrifice"

In Paul's epistle to the Romans, after writing about "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God," and after declaring that "of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever," Paul goes on to say, "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." From that day to this Christians have been trying to understand what this "living sacrifice" implies.

Because of the different concepts concerning sacrifice which men have entertained, they have rarely reached satisfactory or unanimous conclusions in regard to its true nature. From a religious standpoint, it has generally been thought to be the giving up of something to God; and also that this something must be what is highly prized by the giver. In other words, unless the one making the sacrifice sustains thereby what he considers a definite loss, the gift is supposed to have little, if any, value.

Paul, however, before mentioning the wisdom of sacrificing to God, depicts God as already possessing all. Consequently, how impossible would it be to add to that which already is all-inclusive! Hence, it may be readily seen that it is not from the standpoint of adding to God's fullness that our sacrifices must be presented. The blessing must, instead, accrue to the one who sacrifices. Right sacrifice, therefore, is from the very outset to be recognized as a privilege and an advantage. What a fresh vision this immediately opens on the subject!

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June 7, 1924

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