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Law of Sacrifice

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John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The Law of sacrifice was the first and most important law given to man after he was driven out from the garden of Eden. This is evident from the fact that the offspring of Adam and Eve (Cain and Abel) were offering sacrifices to God. Furthermore, God rebuked Cain because he was doing it the wrong way. The fact that God talked directly to Cain about the impropriety of his offering seems to indicate that it was God Himself who taught this law to man.

But why is this law is so important that is was given from the very beginning by God?

First, because it taught mankind to develop faith in the coming Messiah, who was man's only hope of salvation. When man lived in the garden of Eden, he also lived in the presence of God. But when he was driven out of the garden, he likewise was driven from God as well. Therefore the law of sacrifice was the Lord's way of preparing man to enter back in His presence.

The second reason why this law is so important is because it teaches us to give to God that which is important to us. There are several reasons why animals were used as the sacrifice, but one of them was that animals were very important to man. In the beginning there was no money, so animals were used as the medium of exchange because they provided food, clothing and other items necessary for life. Thus, sacrificing an animal, especially the best of the lot, meant giving up something that was of great worth to man.

Thirdly, the law of sacrifice provides the means whereby God can bless us. Without any sacrifice on our part, there can be no reward. As such, the law of sacrifice teaches that without works there is no salvation.

But to receive the reward, the sacrifice must be done as God directs. The reason Cain's sacrifice was not accepted was because it didn't represent the death of the future Messiah. Able offered up the firstly on his flock, but Cain offered only fruit. There was nothing in that offering to support or illustrate the idea of the Messiah' sacrifice. It was for this reason that God admonished him, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him" (Genesis 4:7).

Many people think that when Jesus died so did the law of sacrifice. This is only partially true. It's true we don't have to offer animals as a sacrifice. But, rather than doing away with the Old Covenant, Jesus replaced it with a New Covenant. Therefore, instead of doing anyway with the law of sacrifice, Jesus replaced it with a new form of sacrifice. Instead of sacrificing animals, now we must sacrifice ourselves - our time, talents and energies to God.

God, who gave this law, also lives it Himself. After all, He sacrifice something of great worth to Him - His beloved Son - for our sake. He gave the best He had to us. We should be willing to give the best we have for Him. And one way we can do that is to follow the teachings of Jesus and give our life in serving Him.

Jesus spoke about us going the second mile. To go the first mile is good but it doesn't represent being perfect. Going the second mile is showing a perfect love. Going the first mile represents the law. The Jews obeyed this kind of law out of fear. Going the second mile represents the gospel. We should obey out of love, rather than because of fear. This is the highest level of exercising our free agency.

The scriptures often talk about sanctification, but this is not the same as sacrificing. The word sacrifice has two meanings. The first one means to make something sacred. The second one means to do something that we don't want to do it (that's why we call it a sacrifice.) On the other hand, the word sanctify only means "to make holy something."

There are several kinds of sacrifices. We can give something away that's easy to give up. For example, we can give something to God that is useless or doesn't mean anything to us. This is what Cain did, but this kind of sacrifice does us no good. However, to give something that is important or necessary to us, like the widow did, is a good sacrifice. To give something that we really don't want to part with is a great sacrifice. Sometimes God will ask us for something different than money. Sometimes He might ask us to sacrifice the very thing that means more to us than anything else. And the reason why He does this is not because He needs anything but because He wants to see if we are willing to give all things for His sake, and are willing to make Him the first and most important thing in our life.

As Jesus said, we should be ready to give up mother or father, sister or brother to follow Him and we should be willing to do it WITH ALL OUR HEART. This is what Abraham did with his own son. And it is when we are ready to offer this kind of a sacrifice that we become sanctified. When we submit ourselves to God's requests, we receive His Spirit. And when God's Spirit rules us, we triumph over the flesh and control it. And this is what it means to be sanctified.

Miracles occur when our sacrifices are coupled with our faith and desire to please God. Then the heart of God is moved to pour out His mercy upon us. If we want to know how strong our commitment is to the gospel of Jesus Christ, all we have to do is look at the kind of sacrifices we are willing to offer God. Without any sacrifices on our part we show God that we are not willing to offer Him anything in return for what He has already sacrificed for us.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:51  

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