Tuesday, July 16, 2013

4 sacrifices

Listening to the book of Hebrews this morning I thought of four sacrifices that we learn about in scripture.  There was the sacrifice of Isaac that Abraham was prepared to make on Mount Moriah: 

Genesis 22:1 Some time later, God tested Abraham's faith. "Abraham!" God called.
"Yes," he replied. "Here I am."
"Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you."

Abraham was called by God to put to death the most precious thing in life to him. He was willing to do this according to the book of Hebrews because he was confident that God would raise Isaac back to life, even if he were killed.  Of course God spared the sacrifice at the last second when He saw Abraham's faith.

We hear about the sacrifices of animals that God commanded the Hebrew people to make in Hebrews too.  We are taught there that these blood offerings were a picture and a reminder.  They were a picture of the need for a death to take place before an inheritance can be received and for a payment to be made before sins can be forgiven.  But they are a reminder that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of men...they can only remind men of the need for a permanent and lasting payment.

Hebrews 10:1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.

The third sacrifice we learn of was the death of Jesus, whose blood has made a permanent solution for our sin.

Hebrews 10:Then he said, "Look, I have come to do your will." He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

The fourth sacrifice is our personal sacrifice.  It comes after we have put our trust in the third sacrifice.  We are called to sacrifice the temporary and false expectations of finding all satisfaction in this earthly life so that we can focus on the enduring and permanent satisfaction that will come in the future, when we are past the limits of this life.

Hebrews 10:36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
37 "For in just a little while,
    the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 And my righteous ones will live by faith.
    But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away."

Rob Smith

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