Summary: God is not seeking a blood sacrifice today; He desires a living one.
Capital punishment has been a controversial issue and a bone of contention for as long as I can remember. It has been voted in and out and in and put on hold. Some call it cruel and inhumane, or claim that it is just legalized murder. Others defend the practice on the ground of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life.”
With regard to sin, God pronounced the death penalty: “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20 (NASB).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NASB).
Whereas son could not substitute for father and vice versa, it was God’s plan for the pre-Christ Jews to substitute an animal without blemish to die in the sinner’s stead.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5 (NASB).
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.’” Revelation 5:9 (NASB).
The song, written by The McKameys, said,
“Build an altar of stone, for sins to atone
Once a year to pardon and free.
Slay a lamb pure and white.
Make a blood sacrifice
Was the way that it used to be.”
“God gave His own Son, our sins to atone.
The Supreme sacrifice was made.
Jesus hung on the cross,
Shed His blood for the lost,
The price for redemption was paid.”
But now God asks for a different kind of sacrifice; a bloodless sacrifice, not a sacrifice to atone for sins since Jesus did that once and for all.
Here’s the sacrifice God desires:”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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:1-3 (NASB).
Living sacrifices stand in contrast to dying sacrifices in that
*The animals had no choice, but the choice is ours to “present our bodies.”
**The animals died, but we are urged to be living sacrifices.
***The animal sacrifices appealed to the mercy of God, but being living sacrifices is a grateful response to His already given mercy.
So, today, if you want to offer an acceptable sacrifice:
I. Offer Your Body On The Altar Made Of Good Deeds:
A. Old Testament altars were made of two types of materials.
1. First, after the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God said, “You shall build the altar of the LORD your God of uncut stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the LORD your God;” Deuteronomy 27:6 (NASB).
2. Later, God instructed, “And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze” . Exodus 27:1-2 (NASB).
B. Our altar is neither stones nor acacia wood. Our altar is built of good deeds, upon which we present our bodies as living sacrifices.
C. You can see that the way we become living sacrifices is to give ourselves to God in doing what is right.
1. It is to give up, or yield, or surrender our bodies and lives to Him for His use.
2. To present your body as a living sacrifice is to do all the good you can to all the people you can, in every way you can, in all the places you can, as long as we can, even when it is inconvenient, difficult and costly.
D. Here’s a list of the kind of deeds God loves. Do them and your body will be a living sacrifice: Since we have different gifts, according to the grace given us: