At least once a semester, often more than that, I am asked if the earliest Christians continued to sacrifice animals at the Temple. I guess that probably some did, but the “redemptive trend” (if I might borrow from a book I’m about to read) finds its north star elsewhere. Notice Romans 12:1-2.
Paul sees sacrifice transformed from the Temple to the behavior of Christians in community:
1. They no longer sacrifice animals, but “your bodies.”
2. They no longer offer dead sacrifices, but a “living sacrifice.”
3. They offer not a physical but a “spiritual worship.”
Wright sees “body” as the whole person — not just the physical — in its physical reality in space and time.
Such worship — such sacrifice of bodies as a living sacrifice and spiritual worship — is “holy” and “well-pleasing.”
Wright makes a singular point that this act of worship/sacrifice actually pleases God.
Leading us to the well known crux: “spiritual” (logikos). Meaning?
1. Worship worthy of thinking beings — reasonable.
2. Worship to which the logic of redemption — Romans 1–11 — leads.