Have I taken the time today to thank God? Now I tend to take things for granted…my health, safety, material needs. And it’s not until I have some kind of close call or problem that I suddenly stop and thank God for watching out over me! This verse illustrates how God’s great love for us was revealed in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who came to break the chains of sin…the sacrifice of His blood making our atonement. And after accomplishing this miraculous feat, now lives in our hearts. (Luke 17:21) Yes, I have so much to thank God for…His love, grace, mercy, and the very breath in my body.
Early in this Chapter, God tests Abraham by demanding his son of promise, Issac. God was refining Abraham’s character by commanding his loyalty and charging him to live in obedience. Anytime God tests us it’s for our ultimate benefit and good. Testing and sacrifice are just part of our journey towards self-discipline and holiness. Sacrifice is offering back to God the only thing I have to give… a love-gift of myself…of giving the best I have to the One I love the most.
What would have happened to humankind if God had felt Jesus was exempt? Without the tremendous sacrifice, on the part of both God and Jesus Christ, we would be lost in our sins. The willingness of God to hand over Son on our behalf can be found in one of the Bible’s most recognizable scriptures, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” ( John 3:16-17) God may have not wanted to hand Jesus over…Jesus may have not wanted to go through the horrible torture and crucifixion on the Cross…but They did…and in the process, saved your soul from hell.
From the beginning of time, man has attempted to remove the shame and guilt of sin. The Priests would offer the same sacrifices day after day, over and over again…but the humiliation would remain. No matter how many times an animal sacrifice was laid at the altar…it was never good enough. That’s because it’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that can take away, once for all, your sins and the guilt and shame that harass you. When Jesus died on the Cross for you, He took upon Himself your sins, and made a way to our Heavenly Father…that you might experience peace. If there’s no happiness or peace in your inner self today…maybe you should consider asking Jesus into your life.
Do you have an attitude of gratitude towards God? Is your perspective colored by thankfulness for what the Lord has done in your life? It’s then you fully realize the compassion and love God has lavished on you… and that you have been called and set apart for His work. For out of that profound gratitude will come a desire to serve and to live a life worthy of the calling. (Eph. 4:1)
God looks carefully at what we offer Him. But He looks even more closely at what we don’t offer Him. Are you withholding some area of your life for fear He’ll tell you to stop it? Are you denying Him a corner of your world because you enjoy it way too much? What we offer up to the Lord is much more important to us than to Him…for what He’s looking for is a total surrender…a relinquishing of ourselves…and a giving up of control. As I Samuel 15:22 states, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” God’s looking for our obedience not some ritual.
We can’t save ourselves. We can try, and try, and try…but nothing we’ll ever do can rescue us from hell. We need a Savior…a High Priest that offered the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf…Himself on the Cross…once for all. And in doing so, gave us the greatest gift ever…the gift of eternal life. Jesus Christ is the only answer for this dying world…will you turn to Him today?
Christ Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice that God the Father gave to the World. He bestowed on us His favor and kindness where there should have been condemnation and punishment. God didn’t spare anything on our behalf….He compassionately gave all, then and now.