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A LIVING & HOLY SACRIFICE

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Leviticus 22 : 17-33

“You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the Lord who sanctifies you, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God; I am the Lord.” -Leviticus 22:32-33

How amazing that the Almighty Lord who brought the Israelites out of the land of slavery; who delivered us from the bondage of sin wants to sanctify us to be His witnesses! In today’s reading, the priests and children of Israel are instructed about acceptable sacrifices to God. To the Israelites, sacrifices were an offering for atonement of sin or an expression of thanksgiving to God. We as a ‘royal priesthood and holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9) need to understand how the sacrifice typifies Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God and God’s expectation of us as living sacrifices. 


A Holy and Blemishless Sacrifice: The animal for sacrifice was to be without any defect or blemish, as it reflects God’s holy nature. Our God is holy and He expects His children to be holy. God’s standards of holiness required Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb without spot or blemish to be sacrificed for the atonement for the sins of mankind. ‘…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.’ (1 Peter 1:18-19) Similarly, we as living sacrifices, are called to be holy, presenting ourselves as dedicated, sanctified for God’s service (1 Peter 1:16)


A Willing Sacrifice: The sacrifice was to be a freewill offering - voluntary and not out of compulsion or force. It reflects the Father’s love in sending His Son and Son’s humility in coming for us.  Our Heavenly Father, in His divine mercy and love, chose to send His Son Jesus Christ to bear the punishment of sin on our behalf and die in our place that we might be set free (John 3:16-17). Just as Christ Jesus willingly submitted to the Father’s plan by becoming the perfect sacrifice for us (Philippians 2:8), we are to make a conscious decision in willingness, humbling and surrendering ourselves to the Father’s will out of gratitude and thanksgiving. In honoring God, we ought to give the very best of our talents, resources and time, not withholding anything from the Lord, for He did not withhold even His Son from us.


Our motivation for freely surrendering ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice should be rooted in knowing:

 

  • Who God is: ‘I am the LORD your God…’ (Isaiah 41:13) He is the Almighty God, our Creator, and Redeemer. 
     

  • What He has done for us: ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8) He paid the price to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. 
     

  • Who we are in Him: We are children of God (John 1:12), dead to sin but alive to God (Romans 6:11), complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10) 
     

  • His plans for His redeemed: ‘…the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.’ (1 Peter 5:10)

In this understanding, may we respond with a heart of adoration and thanksgiving, offering ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice, witnessing and glorifying God to a world that needs the Saviour.  

To Act On:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God,

to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, 

which is your spiritual service of worship.”

-Romans 12:1

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