Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Most Christians never really think too much about sacrifice. We all know that Jesus is the sacrifice for our sin, so we rarely consider any need to offer a personal sacrifice to God or to Christ. It is true that no sacrifice remains for the forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:26 states clearly, “But he appeared once of all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” God does not need any sacrifice from you or me to secure our salvation. The price has been paid.
Now we must accept (or “receive”. When something is offered to us, we may either receive or reject it) such a salvation. It is offered freely to all; there is no price for it. However, once we have chosen to accept salvation from God through faith in Jesus (for faith in Jesus is how we accept salvation, “For it is by grace that we have been saved through faith… Eph. 2:8) we have responsibility to it and to the One who provides it. Not all gifts require responsibility to the giver of to the gift. We take the gift as our own and do with it what we choose.
But concerning the gift of salvation, our response to the gift is evidence that we have received it properly from the hand of God. It is not that God takes back the gifts he gives; it’s just that when the gift is unused or misused, it has no value or negative value on life. So if we choose to be irresponsible with the gift of salvation, we quickly discover that it has no real impact on this life, not what Jesus came to do. He came that, “…I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) If you are irresponsible with your salvation, you may never know what it holds in store for life today!
So how does salvation provide proper meaning for life today? It would come through responsibly responding to the salvation received. And what is an appropriate response? To become a follower of the one who makes the offering – Jesus. And there is personal sacrifice involved when you follow Jesus.
Jesus said that in order to be his disciple (to learn from another. In those days, to learn from someone meant to be where he was so that one could learn from him – hence “follow”) one “must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) To deny, to embrace a cross and to follow all require sacrifice. No one can meet these three requirements casually, but only by being deliberate, unyielding to the demands of following Jesus.
So now if you deny self and die to self daily (your cross), how will you live? You will live in the life of Christ that is given you the day of your salvation. Each one of us may know that we have responsibly handled our salvation when we know that our daily living is that of Christ-likeness rather than “self-likeness.”
We should be eager to make personal sacrifices for our life in Christ because it is more evidence in my life that I am living as he lives. His sacrifice of grace brings life; my sacrifice of grace to others is meant to do the same. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) This is the reality of Christian “follow-ship.”
The proper response to salvation is to follow Jesus – to know him and to be like him. Paul said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Phil. 3:8)
How responsible are you with your salvation? Are you honoring the gift and the giver with your life?
Are you willing to sacrifice your life in order to know Jesus more and to live as he lives?
Is your sacrifice a similar testimony of God’s grace as is known in the sacrifice of Jesus? May people know the grace of God because you have chosen to make some personal sacrifices in your life?
Can you say with Paul that “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Say it and live it and know the life-giving strength of sacrifice!