This article is part of a series looking at the Oxymoronic names of God and how understanding them helps us live as Christians in a fallen world. Please click here to read the introductory article and to find links to other articles in the series.
‘The living sacrifice’, that’s Christ. Why is it necessary that Christ is both living and a sacrifice?
‘A living sacrifice’, that’s us. Why do we need to become living sacrifices?
We have done many things wrong, but Jesus paid the price for them by dying in our place; He’s the sacrifice. But if he hadn’t come back to life afterwards, there would be no victory over the darkness and sins that plague us. Christ overcame, and we get to share in his triumph. We are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6). Wonderfully, since he is now alive, we can talk to him, and he prays for us (Isaiah 53:12).
Christ came to earth and lived a perfect life; he was a fully living human being. Consequently, he can identify with all our hardships and temptations. He knows what it is like to be ridiculed, ostracised and despised. But if he were only a living example for us, we would still need to pay the penalty for our sins, which is death. Jesus told his followers he was the lamb of God, meaning that he was the required sacrifice. If he hadn’t followed up on these words and died in our place, he would be either mad or evil. Thankfully, he became our sacrifice.
What about us? We are invited to become living sacrifices; why would we do this?
This would be our state without Christ. We are so impure and God so holy and righteous that we cannot approach him independently. Instead, we would remain in darkness and decay. Even if they looked like ‘sacrifices’, our efforts or works would not be enough to save us.
To carry on living without regard or appreciation for what Christ has done for us or oblivious to the freedom He has won for us is desperately sad. Living selfishly, to please only ourselves, leads to ostracism from God. Instead, we can offer our lives to God in grateful love and appreciation for all He has done for us. God does not coerce us; we give ourselves to Him because we choose to. This is our sacrifice.
Our calling is to become Living Sacrifices to God
Romans 12 describes how this looks. When we give ourselves to God and turn away from anything impure, he has so much to offer us in return. Our minds will be transformed so that we’ll know more and more of how good and pleasing His ways are. This isn’t mind-control but a renewal of healthy thoughts that line up with how the creator of the world sees things. We’ll find new meaning in Christ’s family and discover God’s particular purposes for us. It is exciting. God has a plan for you. Don’t hold back; offer yourself to Him. He is such a safe pair of hands, and together we’ll see evil overcome.
We can leap for joy because of that.
To return to the Oxymoronic God series of articles please click here.
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