When the Holy Spirit waters the Word planted in fertile soil, fruit comes from and of itself. Such is the case for this article, an inspiration from the same Word, 1 Peter 2:9-10, preached last night from two different ministers, two different pulpits, and two different countries.*
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
These words brought to memory other references to sacrifices. From the Old Covenant, that spoke of the shadows and types concerned with the physical realm, to the New Covenant and the fulfilling of the promises in a spiritual realm, I could see the evolving of another book (this is usually the overwhelming of the Spirit using the Word).
But I had to rein in my thoughts so as to present a succinct and concise meaning of sacrifice in the Christian life.
So, let’s look at the sacrifice (sacrificial system) in the Old Covenant as we consider the facets of sacrifice. For the Christian, all things originate with our Lord. He initiates and commands. He initiated the Covenant of Grace, promised it through Abraham and his seed, and fulfilled it in Jesus Christ and through His seed.
God Commands a Sacrifice from His People
He specified the object of sacrifice and how it was to be offered.
Sacrifices were commanded for different occasions in the Old Testament ~ the main blood sacrifice was to atone for the sins of His people through the killing of animals.
No other nation was required or privileged to offer these sacrifices. Sacrifices were the response of God’s people to His rule and authority over them.
We see the mercy of the Lord our God when we compare the sacrifices other nations made by offering their own children as sacrifices to their gods.
The people brought their sacrifice to be offered on the altar by the Levitical priests. They were a shadow or type commanded and offered until the New Covenant was ratified in the sacrifice of His Son.
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God;”
A study of the book of Hebrews provides an overwhelming explanation of this brief review. Every believer needs this study under his belt of truth.
In these references. sacrifice is the main subject. Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 9:23;Hebrews 9:26;Hebrews 10:1;Hebrews 10:3;Hebrews 10:5;Hebrews 10:6;Hebrews 10:8;Hebrews 10:11;Hebrews 11:4;Hebrews 13:15
The Point of Sacrifice for the Christian
Jesus was the last blood sacrifice ~ offering Himself willingly to fulfill the covenant of redemption on behalf of His people. The physical altars of sacrifice were shut down when Jesus hung on a cross, sacrificing Himself for those who would come in faith and repentance to Him as Lord and Savior.
His blood atoned forever and commands a response from us as His chosen generation, His blood-bought people.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 2:5
What are these spiritual sacrifices?
“ to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.“
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15
“But to do good and to communicate forget not:
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
” Mark 12:33
All we have of His mercy, His goodness, and His love, are the results of His sacrifice for us.
Mercy begets mercy
Sacrifice begets sacrifice
Goodness begets goodness
Love begets love
Gracious and glorious Father in heaven, send your Holy Spirit to quicken your Word spoken to us by your servants. Speak to us through your Word this week. Bring forth the praise that you command by your Spirit and your Word through us. Make us to know your presence and power as you prepare our hearts for your worship and Word next Lord’s Day ~ all for that glorious day when we shall praise you face to face. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
*Chris Strevel, Buford, Georgia: Exodus 40 From Slavery to Glory
*Ryan McKee, Northern Ireland: 1 Peter 2:9-10 Who We Are in Christ