You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 (NASB)
I don’t think most of us, as Americans, know what it means to truly sacrifice nowadays. My pastor at Hebron Baptist Church, Rev. Kevin Miller, does. Week before last, he gave up one of his own kidneys so that a member of our congregation could continue to live. Now that’s a sacrifice! I’m so honored to have such a man who practices what he teaches as my pastor.
Many people give their old clothes to Goodwill, or hand out a few bucks to whatever charity has a bucket or a pail at the mall when they happen to pass, and those things may be good, but they haven’t sacrificed anything. Those are castoffs or excess. True sacrifice costs. In the Old Testament, when the people brought that firstling without blemish, it was the best they had. It would be like giving up your most valuable piece of jewelry or your entire salary for the month of January to help someone. It hurts, in my pastor’s case, quite literally.
The first sacrifice was made by God Himself in the Garden of Eden when He sacrificed an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. When they fell, all of creation fell. Until then, there had been no need for sacrifice. Work wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a joy. Thorns and thistles only grew up after the fall. They were naked, but they had never known shame or guilt. At the fall, everything changed. One sin led to many others, and as sin multiplied, so did the need for sacrifice. Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Animals provided a temporary solution to the sin problem. That old covenant lasted until Jesus came to die for the eternal salvation of all the Old and New Testament saints who had placed their faith in God’s plan of salvation when Jesus made the Ultimate Sacrifice, a new covenant written in His own blood.
So there’s no need for anymore sacrifices, right? Animals, no. Our salvation is given through the blood of Jesus Christ alone. There’s nothing we can, or should, ever try to add to that. Works will never save anyone, even giving a kidney or your own life will never save you. Our sacrifices now are sacrifices of praise for what Christ has already done in our lives. We want others to know the truth of Who He is, and that He has first place in our lives. If we seek Him first, and His righteousness, any sacrifices are well worth it, because He will use them to bless us and others by our faithfulness.