Down through history people have sacrificed to God out of love or hope, ignorance or fear. Their sacrifices have usually been of their harvests, either of humankind or of animals, alive or dead -- practices generally outmoded or outlawed now.
But the Bible still calls for sacrifice. In fact, Paul sounds somewhat reminiscent of pagan worship (though he isn't referring to such) as he urges the Romans, ". . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God , which is your reasonable service." n1
n1 Roamns 12:1.
How do we obey him? How do we sacrifice our living body while we're busy putting it through its daily paces?
The answer may require knowing something of what God is, what man is, and what the mortal body is.
God told Moses that His name is I AM. I AM brooks no other being. What is,m is God and His expression. And with the synonyms Christian Science employs for God, we can therefore say that Life is; Love is; Truth is; Spirit is; Soul is; Mind is; Principle is.
Man, the Bible inform us, is the very likeness, of God. Being the spiritual idea that God has created and sustains, man cannot, then, ever express death, being always occupied expressing Life. Similarly man, expressing Spirit, is spiritual and not material. So it is with the other synonyms. What God is, man expresses. What God is not, man cannot represent.
Mortal bodies are thus not man's God- given identity, though mortals vainly and ingorantly believe that physicality makes up their manhood or womanhood. The belief that man is physical (and false belief is the essence of mortality) needs ultimately to be outgrown. Could Paul be saying that only as we sacrifice the belief of living in matter -- only as we give up materialism and sin and adopt pure holiness as our standard -- do we discover the spiritual man, truly "acceptable unto God," as our actual existence?
For example, should the temptation come to resort to chicanery on a tax form, one can take up the challenge -- and sacrifice. He can turn to the Christ, the spiritual ideal ever in our consciousness, and get a clearer view of his true integrity as the expression of divine Truth. As he yields to this divine power he finds a mortal, limited sense of self dissolving to some degree. Dishonesty becomes less tempting and honesty more appealing.
The same method applies to the temptation to believe that the physical body is suffering some malady. I went to church one time with a throat so sore it made swallowing quite difficult. During the silent prayer that precedes the Lord's Prayer in a Christian Science service, I saw quite vividly that I and everyone in the congregation, in our true natures, fully expressed spirituality, unlimited by any material form. Wasn't this making a "living sacrifice" of my narrow, mortal concept of body? Shortly afterward, as I thought about the words "Thine is the kingdom," n2 I felt something happen in my throat. I swallowed. No pain. I swallowed three or four times. Absolutely no pain. I nearly laughed out loud.
n2 Matthew 6:13.
Sacrificing, then, can be seen as a markedly mental transformation activated and sustained by God's power. It involves the ever-present Christ, which prompts mankind to yield up the mortal view in favor of the divine. Mary Baker Eddy n3 puts it succinctly: "CHRIST. The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." n4
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of the Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 583.