Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:1-2
In the Old Testament, God instructs the children of Israel to sacrifice dead animals on the altar. In other words, to “make” sacrifices unto Him. In the New Testament, God modified the command to say that the believers in Jesus Christ were to offer their own bodies to God in sacrifice. In other words, to “be” a sacrifice.
There is a huge difference between the two. No longer are we to worship God with dead animal sacrifices, but now we must be more personally involved in that act of worship — by placing our own bodies figuratively speaking on the altar of life. According to the Romans passage, we should no longer conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
How do we accomplish this? By changing our behavior to no longer look like the rest of the world.
J.B. Phillips, in his well-known translation of this passage, puts it this way: “Don’t let the world…squeeze you into its mold.” Instead, we are to “renew our minds” through a variety of means.
First and foremost, we must exchange Satan’s rules for the image of God instead. We must aim to be “conformed to the likeness of [God’s] Son.” – Romans 8:29
Then we must study the Bible diligently. How else can we live according to God’s standards?
Obviously, we must first learn what those standards actually are. And finally, we need to “test and approve what God’s will is.” The idea here is that the renewed mind will discover and put into action God’s will in his life.
He will sacrifice the preferences of the human nature and choose to follow the precepts of God instead.