CAMDEN By Robert Orren
When we consider the extent of God’s grace toward us, what would be an appropriate response? Many people will be tempted to abuse that grace, just as someone taking advantage of another person’s kindness. After all, that is the way many in the world think about the love, mercy, and goodness of God. “God loves me too much,” “I think God would understand,” and “God knows my heart” are common attitudes among those who would abuse God’s grace. Paul addressed this attitude beginning in Romans 5:20-6:1
But the logical response to God’s grace is to offer yourself as a living sacrifice.
Paul wrote in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
The Greek word translated “reasonable” is logikos, which means rational or logical. In other words, it just makes sense.
Offering yourself as a living sacrifice to Him is the only logical response to such a generous, merciful, and forgiving God. Let me say that again…it is the ONLY logical response. No other one makes sense at all.
When we consider what God gave us and continues to give us, nothing less than our entire life is a sufficient sacrifice to Him.
In fact, that is our duty as a royal priesthood. In 1 Peter 2:5, 9 Peter not only refers to all New Testament Christians as priests, but also gives us the responsibilities of priests as well—to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
It is true that the sacrifice for forgiveness of sins has now been made once for all by Jesus. See Hebrews 10:10-14. It is also true that we have sacrificed the old man of sin when we obeyed the gospel.
But just because we sacrificed the old man of sin, does not mean all sacrifices to God cease. As priests under the New Covenant, we have no need to offer a sin offering, but we continue to offer sacrifices because God is God and we are His people.
But let’s look at the paradox of living sacrifices. Those bulls, goats, and lambs that were sacrificed under the Old Law did not live to be sacrificed again the next day.
However, we offer ourselves to Him on a daily basis. We are living sacrifices because we are alive from the dead. See Romans 6:11-14. We sacrifice ourselves today, tomorrow, into next week, and until the Lord returns.
But these sacrifices must still be pleasing to God. Consider what God demands in any sacrifice. Sacrifices under the Old Law were to be perfect. (See Leviticus 22:17-20.)
Therefore, our sacrifice should be spotless and blameless, cleansed by the blood of Christ. So offer the best you have while you still have it. Otherwise it is like offering those blind and lame sacrifices that were unacceptably offered to God in Malachi 1:6-8.
Remember this as well. At the altar of sacrifice, the gift no longer belongs to the giver. When you give your life to Jesus, it is no longer yours to do with as you wish.
When you live for Him, you are sacrificing your wants and desires for His commands.
Give your life to the Lord, not just your heart. Giving your heart to Jesus is not a sufficient sacrifice.
You would think that giving your life every day is not a sufficient sacrifice either; and in a way it is not. In fact, compared to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, it is not even close. But it is sufficient because it is all you have to give.
That is what God wants, and it is the only logical response to His grace.
(Robert Orren preaches for the Cullendale Church of Christ.)