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A Living Sacrifice unto God [podcast]


The burnt offering means a complete consumption. What did God illustrate to us when He required His people under the Old Covenant to offer burnt offering sacrifices?

  1. His coming Messiah’s perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
  2. The ordained way He requires that His people serve Him.

Jesus was the ultimate burnt offering. He gave all of Himself freely in obedience to His Father and to redeem mankind.

“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.” Romans 12:1

In His earthly days, our LORD came and resolved to do the will of His Father.

“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist (knew) ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

What was ultimately the “Father’s business”?

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Mankind fell in the Garden and is separated from God due to his sin (Genesis 3; Isaiah 59:1; Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23). Ultimately, Jesus came to die for the sins of the world (Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21). “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” to ultimately die a sacrificial death for our sins – “that he might bring us (back) to God” (John 1:14).

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” 1 Peter 3:18

Jesus, who is God “manifest in the flesh,” a living man was crucified as the burnt offering sacrifice  “for the sins of the whole world” (1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 2:1-2). This is in fulfillment of what the burnt offering represented, prefigured under the sacrificial system of the Old Covenant as it pointed to the coming Messiah and to the cross He instructed us to take up in following Him (Luke 9:23-24; Romans 6; 12:1, etc.).

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;” Hebrews 2:3

There were 5 types of sacrificial offerings that God required of His people under the Old Covenant to atone for their sins. Each of these offerings depicted this “so great salvation” of Christ (Hebrews 2:3). They were prophetic of what our LORD Jesus, the Messiah, would do when He came, and we know He has come. What is merely represented in these offerings to God were a foreshadowing of the perfect, one-time sacrifice Jesus was coming to offer. Book of Hebrews. Jesus is the fulfillment of each of these offerings which were a mere prefiguring of His perfect offering to come. He is the embodiment of them. His perfect sacrifice is what was represented in these 5 offerings to God. His sacrifice, His blood, is the basis for every and any kind of sin that has ever been committed. God covered all bases for fallen man’s sin!


“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

Jesus “offered himself without spot to God” – Not only was Jesus the perfect, spotless sacrifice, He offered Himself wholly, unreservedly, unconditionally to the Father and therefore to the cross which was the ordained will of the Father. Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30

The Old Covenant concept of the burnt offering was a complete giving up of self, of self-will, self-interests, and selfish ambition, and an unreserved giving of self to God.

As Jesus gave Himself wholly, so should Christ’s disciples, allowing the cross to vanquish us, to consume us, that Christ might raise us upward for His glory.

The burnt offering depicted the coming Messiah’s complete giving over of Himself to the will of His Father to be the atoning sacrifice to buy back His fallen race, mankind.

One observer of Scripture writes:

“During the First Temple and Second Temple periods, the burnt offering was a twice-daily animal sacrifice offered on the altar in the temple in Jerusalem that was completely consumed by fire. The skin of the animal, however, was not burnt but given to the priests respective of their priestly division.”

Our LORD Jesus gave Himself unreservedly to the Father, in fulfillment of the Old Covenant sacrificial system of burnt offerings. This now obsolete sacrificial requirement merely foreshadowed the atoning death of the Messiah who was to come and now has come. In the same way, Christ’s New Testament saints are called to offer their “bodies a living sacrifice” to the LORD (Romans 12:1). We are here for Him who died and rose again for us, to do His will. So, just as did our LORD, so we must yield ourselves to God and His will and work, without reserve, holding nothing back.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, declared:

“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42

This exemplifies the unreserved giving of Himself to the Father for the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:19).

One commentator notes:

“The biggest difference between the burnt offering and other offerings is that to make a burnt offering the entire animal was burned on the altar, symbolizing total commitment or surrender to God. As you read, think about different ways the burnt offering can teach us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it reminded the Israelites of their duty to God.”

There was no other way for Jesus but the cross and there’s no other way for you than the cross (Luke 22:41-44). And you will not make it without the cross He commanded you to take up daily (Luke 9:23-24). It’s only when we worshipfully, obediently resign ourselves in the death and burial of Christ – when we are “crucified with Christ” – that He raises us upward in His victory! (2 Corinthians 4:10-12; Galatians 2:20) In the divine economy the resurrection is the victory and it of necessity, must be preceded with our own death and burial (John 12:23-25; Romans 6).

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 

Jesus Christ is our LORD, Savior, and example, and He is unique in all of history. Christ perfectly and exclusively satisfied the claims of the Father’s justice to buy back (re-deem) mankind from sin to the Father.

“For the love of Christ constraineth (compels) us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 

As Jesus gave Himself over wholly to the Father, so we must do the same and such is done daily as we are crucified with Christ.

“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.” Galatians 2:20

“The burnt offering is in one sense the most “complete” of all the sacrifices offered to God. In every other type of offering, only a small portion is burnt on the altar. The rest is consumed by the priests, sometimes shared with those who brought the offering. But the burnt offering is to be entirely consumed by flame, as a “sweet aroma to the Lord” (Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17).” S. Aaron Osborne

From Forerunner Commentary

“‘And he took unto him all these (animals to sacrifice), and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.’ Genesis 15:10

Genesis 15:10 and 17 show us a small portion of the ancient practice of making serious covenants. Those making the covenant prepared a sacrifice by dividing animals or fowl in two, then both parties passed between the divided carcasses. This symbolized the seriousness of their intentions in that the divided carcasses represented what would happen to them if they did not keep their oath! They placed their lives at risk. The carcasses were then burned, symbolizing their acceptance.

The smoking oven and burning torch symbolize God. In many instances in the Bible, God represents Himself through the image of fire (i.e., the burning bush and the pillar of fire). The sacrifice in Genesis 15 is interesting in that only God passes between the divided carcasses because, in reality, this is an oath of only one party, God, to keep His promise. In this specific case, Abraham has agreed to nothing, but God has bound Himself with utmost seriousness to meet the requirements of His promise in full. This promise will be fulfilled only because of God’s character and grace.

The 14th thus signifies the ratification of the promise by sacrifice, and the 15th, what it accomplishes by providing visible evidence of God’s faithfulness (e.g., the Israelites go free).”

Adam Clarke on Romans 12:1

“That ye present your bodies – A metaphor taken from bringing sacrifices to the altar of God. The person offering picked out the choicest of his flock, brought it to the altar, and presented it there as an atonement for his sin. They are exhorted to give themselves up in the spirit of sacrifice; to be as wholly the Lord’s property as the whole burnt-offering was, no part being devoted to any other use.

A living sacrifice – In opposition to those dead sacrifices which they were in the habit of offering while in their Jewish state; and that they should have the lusts of the flesh mortified, that they might live to God.

Holy – Without spot or blemish; referring still to the sacrifice required by the law.

Acceptable unto God – Ευαρεστον· The sacrifice being perfect in its kind, and the intention of the offerer being such that both can be acceptable and well pleasing to God, who searches the heart. All these phrases are sacrificial, and show that there must be a complete surrender of the person – the body, the whole man, mind and flesh, to be given to God; and that he is to consider himself no more his own, but the entire property of his Maker.”

FB Meyer on Romans 12:1-8

Therefore links this practical appeal to the whole of the sublime argument, which reaches its climax in the previous chapter. It is easier to die once for God than to live always the surrendered life. But nothing so pleases God as daily surrender, the sacrificed and yielded will tied by cords to His altar. Such an attitude is the only reasonable one we can assume. If God be all we profess to believe, He is worthy of all we are. But we are reminded that the world is ever seeking to mold us to its will, and we need the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may withstand its baleful influence. We need to be transformed-that is, transfigured-by the renewing of our mind. Please God, and you will be pleased with the will of God.”

William MacDonald writes:

“Romans 12:1-2
The rest of Romans answers the question: How should those who have been justified by grace respond in their everyday lives? Paul takes up our duties toward other believers, toward the community, toward our enemies, toward the government, and toward our weaker brothers.

A. In Personal Consecration (12:1, 2)
12:1 Serious and devout consideration of the mercies of God, as they have been set forth in chapters 1-11, leads to only one conclusion—we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. Our bodies stand for all our members and, by extension, our entire lives.

Total commitment is our reasonable service. It is our reasonable service in this sense: if the Son of God has died for me, then the least I can do is live for Him. “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me,” said the great British athlete C. T. Studd, “then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.” Isaac Watts’ great hymn says the same thing: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my life, my all.”

Reasonable service may also be translated “spiritual worship.” As believer-priests, we do not come to God with the bodies of slain animals but with the spiritual sacrifice of yielded lives. We also offer to Him our service (Rom_15:16), our praise (Heb_13:15), and our possessions (Heb_13:16).” Believer’s Bible Commentary

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