“Be Transformed” and “The Theology of Sacrifice”

Most ideas of sacrifice have something to do with deprivation or destruction. Robert Daly in his book, Sacrifice Unveiled, argues that this is not authentic Christian understanding of sacrifice. Christian sacrifice, and ultimately all true sacrifice, he argues, “begins with the self-offering of the Father in the sending of the Son, continues with the loving 'response' of the Son in his humanity, and in the Spirit, to the Father.”

For Christians, this begins when we as human beings respond to this love with love, and thus enter into that perfectly loving, self-giving relationship that is the life of the triune God. For the Christian today, this involves acts of sanctifying or dedicating himself or herself to God as a religious act of self-denial. Through it he or she seeks to enter into communion with God.

The apostle Paul appeals to us, “by the mercies of God, to present our bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1). On this, John Calvin, a leading figure of the Reformation said that when we begin to consecrate ourselves to the Lord; we would begin on a “right course in good works.” It follows then that we must cease to live to ourselves, in order that we may devote all the actions of our life to his service.

Calvin explains it this way: “There are then two things to be considered here, the first, that we are the Lord’s; and secondly, that we ought on this account to be holy, for it is an indignity to God’s holiness, that anything, not first consecrated, should be offered to him. These two things being admitted, it then follows that holiness is to be practised through life, and that we are guilty of a kind of sacrilege when we relapse into uncleanness, as it is nothing else than to profane what is consecrated.”

To put the above into an easily digestible form let me put it this way:

Accept that you belong to God. Because you belong to God – be holy. Holiness is to be practised in life. You would be guilty of offending God if you don’t.

To be transformed is to live your life as a living sacrifice. It means literally to be changed into another form. Christians are to demonstrate their commitment by presenting their bodies, refusing to conform to this world, and by being transformed through renewed minds.

When the body is intelligently yielded to the Lord to be the means of expressing a living, vital holy experience, the Lord would be well pleased.

Be transformed! May God help you to make this your lifelong quest.

Pastor Robert Chew