Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Words of Encouragement

And there rejoice before the LORD your God, you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own. Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. Offer them only at the place the LORD will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you. – Deuteronomy 12:12-14

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. – Romans 24-26

Christ and the Cross. The right kind of sacrifice. In the Old Testament times the people were required to bring sacrifices unto the Lord. If you read in the Law you see they were to make several types of offerings in several different ways. The scripture verses here, remind them about one such sacrifice. When the people are to come, they must be careful not to come offering the burnt offering anywhere they chose, but to offer them only in the place where God has chosen. We may read this and say, what’s the big deal; they were offering the sacrifice, why does it matter where they did it? It matters greatly. It matters because to follow part of a commandment of God and not the entire command is complete disobedience.

What does this have to do with the cross? God sent Jesus to the cross to die for you and I so that we would not have to stand accused of the sins in our lives. God had a complete plan on how Jesus was to accomplish this. Jesus was to present himself as the sacrifice of atonement, just as the priest had done in Old Testament times. It was through the shed blood of the animal that the people’s sins were “temporarily” cover. Jesus was to shed his blood to “permanently” cover our sins. Jesus did not follow His Fathers instructions partly, but completely. In doing so, he opened up the opportunity for you and I to be forgiven.

Now it stands to us. We cannot accept the cross partly, because to do so, we are in fact rejecting it completely. To accept Christ and the cross, we must accept that this is the only way to God. This is the specific place we have been told to go to offer our sacrifices of ourselves before God. Jesus lifeblood was shed so that we could have a right relationship with God. And the instruction to us today is, do not make your sacrifice (of your life) anywhere you so please. In other words, don’t think you will say to God, well I lived for you, I read my Bible, I do this or that, but I just couldn’t accept that I needed Jesus in my life or that I needed to follow those things he said. Then let me tell you what you have done, you have in fact said, I refuse to accept you God, for this way of salvation was God’s plan.

Today, I pray for us to be careful in our sacrifices. We do not want to do as we please, but we want to do as God says and what is pleasing to him. Lord, help us to be living sacrifices your way, and in your power and might. Help us to see the example of Jesus. He was the right kind of sacrifice because he was obedient to your will. Help us to be the right kind of sacrifice, by being obedient to you.