In v.1 when he mentions that our bodies should be a living and holy sacrifice, I'm scratching my head. So let’s break it down. In this sentence there are two things noted about our bodies as a sacrifice:
1) Living – When he says living, he isn’t just talking about us being alive and drawing breath as men. He’s referring to being alive in Him. If we look at 1 Corinthians 3:16, we see that we are a temple of God, and the Spirit dwells in us. We are living because the Spirit is alive in us.
2) Holy – To be holy is to be sanctified. We are sanctified only through our faith in Jesus and the power of His blood.
Notice that both of these things require Him, and cannot be achieved on our own. So how do we “present” ourselves as a sacrifice, acceptable unto God? By submitting ourselves to Him. That is worship, right? It’s giving ourselves into complete submission with all reverence and servitude to Someone greater.
In v.2, he gives some good guidance here. Do not be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of your mind. Again, we have two things of significance:
1) Not conformed to the world – We are not to be like the world. The world is the sin that we were born into. However, we tend to want to fit into that, because it’s what we know. It’s so often very comfortable and feeds our flesh. But in Romans 8:29, we see that we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. And as Jesus said, you can’t serve two masters…
2) That leads us to the transforming part. Remember that little thing about denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily? That’s where this comes from. In the laying down of our old selves, the denial of our flesh and earthly minds, we can take on the mind of Christ. We can become more like Him, which is the ultimate goal. Remember, Jesus said that we are to be perfect like our God who is perfect. That only comes through our denial of ourselves and submitting to Him. In this process, transformation is taking place. Our minds are being renewed to its original state, prior to sin.
If we can do this, we are living instruments of worship.