“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice» (Romans 12:1).
BEING JUSTIFIED by grace through faith brings a life of sanctification as a result. Paul prayed that, in consideration of God’s mercies, we might voluntarily and intelligently present our entire lives—body, mind, and spirit—as a «living sacrifice» to God.
The ceremonial services of the Old Testament offered dead sacrifices, but Paul urges us to live for Christ After all, whoever lives for Him is also willing to die for Him. The Lord may ask some to die for Him, but He asks all of us to live for Him.
On the occasion of Peru’s independence, declared in Lima on July 28, 1821, José Olaya’s sacrifice took place. He was an excellent swimmer who served the cause of independence. Army commander Sucre needed to communicate with the patriots in Lima, as he wanted to know the movements of the royalists, and Olaya was the message bearer.
He carried the messages secretly by swimming almost ten miles by sea between Chorrillos and Lima. That route was heavily guarded, so the risk was very high. On June 27, 1823, while carrying (among other messages) a letter from Sucre Narciso de Colina, Olaya was discovered by the royalists. Before he was caught, he got rid of the letters— one version says that he ate them.
In order to get information, his captors tried everything. But flattery, promises, bludgeoning, nail removal, thumb crushing, and the painful presence of his mother were all useless. What a dilemma! He was choosing between endearing affection for his mother or the safety of the patriots. Was it better for his mother to mourn his death than to be ashamed to see him alive and a traitor? During the tortures and before he was shot, he uttered his famous phrase: «If I had a thousand lives, I would give all of them for my homeland.» We are moved by such dedication and commitment in favor of the liberation of his people.
Are you ready, like Olaya, to give your life for a cause? What price are you willing to pay for faithfully living your faith and sharing hope with perseverance? How willing are we to give our lives in living sacrifice and in faithful service unto death?
Our lives must be offered to God as a perfect offering and a living sacrifice because «God will not be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer. Those who love Him with all the heart, will desire to give Him the best service of the life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will» (Christ in His Sanctuary, p. 47). How many lives are you willing to give?