An olah is the Hebrew word for “whole burnt offering.” Some offerings were to be slain, then only the blood and some of the animal was offered on the altar, and the meat was given to the priests to eat, and to the one who brought the offering. But the olah was burned entire on the altar.
According to the Old Covenant, in Lev 1, the olah is a voluntary offering, and it can only be offered by one who is already in right- standing with God (cleansed from sin). The olah is substitutionary for the worshiper. The acceptable olah makes the worshiper acceptable to the Lord. The substitution is accomplished when the worshiper lays his hands on the olah.
So what does all of this have to do with us? Well, did you know that the Messiah was to be our olah, offered wholly to God on our behalf? Jesus completely fulfilled the requirements of the law of the olah! He was in right- standing with God; He is the acceptable sacrifice which made us acceptable; and He became substitutionary for us when the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all!
Now Paul encourages us today to become a living olah ourselves: to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Living whole burnt offerings. Whole, because we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; burnt, because Jesus our Olah baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and with fire; and offering, because we are crucified with Christ, and we are no longer living for ourselves, but for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us!