A Sacrificial Life

A Sacrificial Life.

A complex sacrificial system covering all aspects of man's relationship with God is described in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Leviticus.   We see that bullocks, calves, rams, kids, doves and all manner of creatures were to be offered up for a whole series of reasons - sin, consecration, peace, etc. etc.

The New Testaments states that Jesus Christ is the once and for all, and for all time sacrifice. (Hebrews 9:28 and 10:10-14).  His sacrificial atoning death covered and dealt with every aspect of the complex system that had been demanded by the Old Testament Law.

The sacrificial system ignored the bullock's desire for nice green pasture; the kid's need of milk and the dove's need to fly.   The needs and desires of the sacrifice were set-aside in order that the greater purpose would be accomplished.

So it was with Jesus.   On the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:3) he learned of what was before him.  From that time on he began to make reference to his own death.  Fully man and fully God that he was, he had laid aside his majesty and placed his trust in the Father.  Trusting that the Father would raise him, the Son, by the Holy Spirit to his previous place in heavenly glory.

It was because of his faith that Jesus, the man, was able to face what was about to befall him.  That is why we can echo the Biblical statement, "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)

It was because Jesus had faith enough to allow himself to become the once and for all sacrifice for us that we can be saved and have eternal life in him.   It was not an easy decision for him to make.  At Gethsemane Jesus, the sacrifice fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible the hour might pass from him.  And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou will". (Mark 14:35 - 36).

He, the sacrifice, set aside his own wants and desires knowing that the greater purpose (the redemption of humanity) needed to be accomplished.  It was, and Jesus' faith in the Father was justified because he was raised from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Hebrews 1:3).  He defeated death and sin (Rom. 5:11-21) and all authority in heaven and earth has been given to him (Matt. 28:18).

Now what about us?  As born again recipients of all that the atonement accomplished we are one with Christ (John 17: 21-23), part of the family of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17), all the many promises of God are ours, all the blessings are ours, we can come boldly to the throne of grace and cry, "Abba, Daddy" in our time of need (Heb.4:16 and Gal. 4:6) and we can have anything we ask for in the name of Jesus (John 14:13).

Just like Jesus, we are beloved of the Father.  However, just as with Jesus, the Father does look to us to conform to his purposes. "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Rom. 12:21).

As we do so, just like any other sacrifice, we have to lay aside all our hopes, needs and desires and say, " yet not what I will, but what thou will".  We come to the Father each day so that the greater purpose (the formation of the ‘body of Christ’) will be accomplished.

"Whatever it takes, whatever you need me to do and be today, then so be it Lord."

Just like Jesus we have to have faith that God the Father will come through on his promises.  As we subjugate all that we are and hope for to his will, we hold to our faith that he will be true to his promises.  The desires that he has placed in our heart will be accomplished, he will meet all of our needs, he will bless us, care for us and love us.

We exercise our faith that he will do his job and fulfill all his promises to us.  He, on the other hand, has faith that we will do our job.  That we will be a living sacrifice for him to use so that his purpose in the world might be accomplished.