October 30, 2020

Christian as a Living Sacrifice

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The Christian is invited to offer their bodies as a Living Sacrfice to God

In the closing lines of Romans 11, the Apostle Paul highlights the graciousness of God towards mankind, which brings us to s place of perpetual gratitude or indebtedness to God

In opening the Romans Chapter 12, we are here introduced to what appears as a natural expectation of people who have received so much from a benevolent GOD

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him”

The notion of sacrifice is not new to man, from its earliest forms in prehistoric times till date.

“In the oldest records that can be found of the various nations of the earth, sacrifice is always found to have formed part of their religious services”. C.H.Irwin

The universally existing reason among God’s people and pagans for sacrifice ranges from;

  1. To obtain Pardon for guilt
  2. obtain favours
  3. avert evil and misfortune
  4. To express gratitude for what has been received etc

There was however a distinct between the sacrificial lives of Israel and the other Nations.

While other Nations could continue to offer sacrifice to their gods without a turnaround from sin, iniquity and debauchery, Israel on the other hand was patterned to offer sacrifice with a holy heart as that was the only way for their sacrifice to gain acceptance by a Holy God

These two models have a sharp contrast

The gods of the other Nations, required sacrifice and not a morality, hence the heathen Nations acts of religious worship became synonymous with immoral and degrading practices and even and even human sacrifices.

So long as the sacrifices were coming , everyone could live as they pleased.

The pagan priests were happy, the people were happy, their “gods” were satisfied and all was good

Israel’s Holy God would not be associated with such as He is Holy in nature and all who follow Him are called to this nature of holiness.

Read Leviticus 20:26

For Yahweh, Holiness was more important than the sacrifice

What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

Isaiah 1: 11 NLT

The Jewish psalmist unequivocally declares

“the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart that is most acceptable to God”, and that without this it is vain to offer the blood of bulls and goats.

This was the very reason Jesus rebuked the religious leaders. The high precepts of their religion (high morality and charity) were sadly neglected and replaced with rituals and sacrifices, Jesus describes them as hypocrites full of iniquity

Apostle Paul is here redirecting our minds to that high moral precept of a true and pure religion.

What God requires from us is the sacrifice of our life.

He wants the activities and energies of our body, soul, and spirit to be consecrated to Divine service. This is what the apostle means when he speaks of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice.

HOW ARE WE TO DO THIS?

  1. OFFER OUR EMOTIONS TO GOD. Our whole heart must be given up to God, so that whatever is right may be strengthened, whatever is wrong may be taken away.

Unfortunately many Christians render to Christ an imperfect sacrifice in this respect, we keep back part of our life from him, by allowing ourselves to be dominated by feelings which are inconsistent with God’s Spirit

That’s part of the reason we easily find convenient excuses for our weakness, that’s the reason we hear such things as,

That is my nature, I can’t help it; or you know I am ill-tempered

While it is a fact that the evil nature is still with us, we must also strive against it, to overcome it, we must never be comfortable with, tolerate or excuse any weakness that buffest us.

Moses appears to have been at first a man of hasty and violent temper. Yet through Divine discipline, and no doubt also his own obedience to the Divine will, he became a change man.

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth.”

It is a natural thing to be angry when things are said or done to provoke us, but is it rigth for us as Christians?

It is the same for all the other negative feelings of

Envy

Pride

Revenge

Hatred

Greed

Lying

Immorality, etc.

Instead of yielding to these weakness or excusing them, the true Christian ought to be ashamed of them and sorry for them, and they can do their best to overcome these negative influence in their hearts.

What are you going to do about your weakness today? Tolerate, excuse or resist them to overcome?  Pray to the Holy Spirit for Help

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