Topic: The Perfect Gift [January 2, 2017]
Read: Romans 11:33–12:2, Bible in a Year: Genesis 4–6; Matthew 2
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
The weeks after Christmas are the busiest time of year in the US for merchandise returns as people trade unwanted gifts for what they really want. Yet you probably know a few people who always seem to give the perfect gift. How do they know just what another person values and what is right for the occasion? The key to successful gift-giving is not money; it’s listening to others and taking a personal interest in what they enjoy and appreciate.
This is true for family and friends. But what about God? Is there anything meaningful or valuable that we can give to God? Is there anything He doesn’t already have?
Romans 11:33–36, a song of praise to God for His great wisdom, knowledge, and glory, is followed by a call to give ourselves to Him. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (12:1). Instead of being shaped by the world around us, we are to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (v. 2).
What’s the best gift we can give to God today? In gratitude, humility, and love we can give ourselves completely to Him—heart, mind, and will. It’s just what the Lord is longing to receive from each of us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I’m Yours. I want to offer myself to You—heart, mind, and will—in humble service and in thankful worship for all You have done for me.
The best gift we can give to God is ourselves.
As Paul begins to describe the new life we can have because of what Jesus has done (Rom. 12–16), he calls for a radical commitment involving the dedication of our bodies and transformation of our minds (12:1–2). God does not require that we die for Him; rather, we are to live for Him—“to offer [ourselves] as a living sacrifice” (v. 1). In the Old Testament two kinds of sacrifices were offered: propitiatory and dedicatory. Propitiatory or atoning sacrifices are mandatory sacrifices to atone for sin and to restore fellowship with God. Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), is the perfect and final propitiatory sacrifice. Paul emphasizes that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). Dedicatory sacrifices are thank offerings voluntarily offered to God to express thankfulness, love, and joyful worship in response to divine blessing or His mercy and grace (Lev. 7:11–15; 22:29; Pss. 50:14, 23; 107:22). We can never offer ourselves as atoning sacrifices (no human person can) because only “Jesus, the Lamb of God, [can take] away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). But we are all qualified to be a thank offering, to be “living sacrifices.”
This message was written by David McCasland [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]