When we offer ourselves to God, from that moment onwards, our bodies no longer belong to us. They are God’s property: God’s temples. We are mere stewards who must give an account to God for the way in which we have cared for His temple. Unfortunately, far too many Christians today continue to treat their bodies as if they still own them and are free to do with them whatever they please.
The requirement for our bodies is stated in Romans 12:1: “That you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God …. “We are required to offer our bodies upon the altar of sacrifice to God just as completely as the Israelites, under the old covenant, offered the animals they sacrificed on their altars. There is, however, one important difference. The Israelites killed the animals they offered to God. The body which we offer to God is to be a living sacrifice.
Concerning our souls, Jesus stated His requirement in Matthew 16:24-25:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself [literally, his soul}, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [soul] will lose it, but whoever loses his life [soul} for My sake will find it. “
Our cross – the one Jesus refers to in this verse – is the place where we choose to die. God does not impose this upon us. We take it up only by our own free will. It is here that we must deny our soul. This means that we say “No” to the three demands of the soul: “I want;” “I think;” “I feel.” Henceforth, we are no longer controlled by these three motives. Their place is taken in our lives by God’s Word and God’s will. As we obey the Word and the will of God, we find the new life which Jesus offers us. It is only through the death and denial of those three motives that our souls can find this new life.
As we fulfil the Lord’s requirement for our bodies and our souls, our spirits are liberated to enter into a fellowship with God which is even more wonderful than that which was lost through the fall. It is a fellowship that is close and intimate.