Living sacrifice. Paul returns to his earlier theme that in light of their freedom in Christ, Gentile Christians should not live like pagans but should live holy lives, as if their bodies were a sacrificially pure offering to God. The Dead Sea Scrolls community similarly believed that their holy way of life was a kind of substitution for the sacrifices in the temple—sacrifices they believed to be corrupt.* In the early church document A Plea for the Christians, Athenagoras argued that Christians should not participate in pagan sacrifices but “present a bloodless sacrifice, to offer ‘spiritual worship.’”**
* Dead Sea Scrolls, 1QS 8:5-10; 9:3-5.
**Athenagoras, A Plea to the Christians, 13, quoted in Richardson, Early Church Fathers, 311-312.
Taken from NIV First-Century Study Bible