Living Sacrifices

Discussion Guide for Romans 12:1-2

The book of Romans proclaims a salvation that is 100% given by God without any dependence on human works. This Gospel is often misunderstood and criticized as a teaching of “cheap grace” or “fire insurance.”

Romans 12:1-2 points to the fact that there is nothing cheap or ordinary about a life that has been transformed by the Gospel. A person who is born by grace into the kingdom of God has only one reasonable response to his salvation: TOTAL SURRENDER.

Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Christians are “living sacrifices.” Paul exemplified this concept with the way that he lived his life in the face of suffering and persecution. The mind of Paul to endure suffering for the cause of Jesus is not extraordinary to him alone, but would be normal for anyone who has had the internal transformation of Christ.

History tells us that many of the Roman Christians who originally read the words of Paul would be lit as human torches or fed to Lions within 10 years of hearing these words. Far from being fire insurance, the Gospel actually inducts us into a life where we could burn as a consequence for belonging to God.

Here is a clip form the movie Quo Vadis that depicts the persecution of the church of Rome by Nero.

We ought to ask ourselves “What kind of mindset would convince a person to willingly choose death for identification with a crucified Messiah?” The mindset of Romans 12:2 shows us how.

Obedience as Sacrifice

In 1 Samuel 15:22 God voices his displeasure with Saul’s sacrifice of a slain animal. Saul was attempting to appease God without caring to obey God’s simple and direct commandments. Most of us can relate. God’s message through the Old Testament prophets was over and over that he was not looking for a heroic and far-fetched sacrifice of a living thing. What God asks is that we give him our heart.

Obedience is the evidence of a heart that belongs to God. The sacrifice that mattered was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His sacrifice makes giving up our lives for him to seem like a small thing. If dying for Christ should be a small thing, then obedience should be even more of a no-brainer.

Questions

  • What is one of the mercies of God that you have seen in your own life?
  • Why do you think that we are told to present our bodies to God and not simply our spirits?
  • Is salvation only for death, or is it also for life today?
  • How do you live like a sacrifice?
  • Why is the sacrifice of your life a small thing compared to the mercy of God?
  • How is a mind transformed?
  • Does the process of transforming the mind take place in an instant or over time?
  • How do you go about discerning God’s will?
  • Have you ever forgotten that God’s will is good?

Related Message: React and Respond

Prayer

We support the work of the International Mission Board through our tithes and partnership as church. They have a daily prayer site so that you can partner with them in prayer as well. Take time to look at today’s entry in your group. https://www.imb.org/prayer-list/

Jonathan Pugh

Associate Pastor: Life Groups & Church Partnership
Jonathan Pugh

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