I have been re-reading Leviticus recently and have been struck by the costly nature of the offerings and sacrifices that were required – bulls, goats, lambs, grain, and oil. All of these would have represented a considerable cost to the giver, as they resulted in the death of any live animals being offered.
Thankfully we don’t have to come to God with bulls and goats now, as Jesus became a complete and perfect sacrifice for us, paying the price for our sin (Hebrews 10:10, & 14). We can therefore approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Does that mean that we don’t need to make any costly sacrifices to the Lord? I don’t believe so! God no longer requires the sacrifice of bulls and goats because Jesus has replaced those, but I believe God is wanting sacrifice of a different kind from us – that of lives laid down for Him.
Today’s verse in Romans urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Our flesh life with all its carnal desires needs to be laid upon the altar and put to death. There is much in the Bible about dying to self and putting the old nature to death. Jesus says: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it’ (Luke 9:23-24). Every time we lay down our own agenda and submit to the Lord’s will for our lives, when we resist the worldly desires within us that clamour for self-gratification and comfort, it’s like laying a sacrifice on the altar for God. It’s an act of worship to Him. It won’t be without cost to us, but Jesus never promised that!
I was challenged recently when a speaker exhorted us never to approach God empty-handed. The same speaker encouraged us to pray daily: “Whatever, Lord” – i.e. whatever the Lord requires of me today, I will do, holding nothing back. That’s the kind of offering God’s looking for from us.
What offering will you bring as your worship to Him today?
Prayer: Lord, thank You so much for the complete sacrifice that Jesus made for me. Forgive me for the times I’ve taken this for granted and I’ve approached You empty-handed. I come now to offer You all that I am, and all that I have, as my worship to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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