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Both the Priest and the Sacrifice

23 Sep

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:5-6)

I wonder what sacrifices we might offer now? Especially sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, wasn’t he the final sacrifice on our behalf that fulfilled all the sacrifices before him? Well, we know Peter is speaking Spiritually here and not physically (in part because he actually said, “spiritual sacrifices), so what Spiritual sacrifices do we offer?

First, what sacrifices do we offer to God today? … And wasn’t Jesus’ sacrifice the final one?

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” (1 Peter 2:7)

The priesthood, in this case, is also the sacrifice. Which means, because we are the priesthood, that we are the Spiritual sacrifices Peter is talking about. But what exactly does that mean?

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

We commonly would think of ways of “offering ourselves to God” as pretty obvious, possibly a few things even jumped to mind when you read the above verse. Perhaps we could… (fill in the blank yourself) … For our neighbor, church, friend, community, random-person-on-internet, etc. In other words, quote and quote, “what we can do for God” (which for you information, is pretty much zip in comparison to what he did for us). But it’s a little more than that, it may well involve that sort of thing, but it’s also offering ourselves. A lot of people consider that by spreading the Gospel of Jesus, they’re offering themselves and that’s true, it’s a sacrifice of time and energy to do that, but to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, it means giving our-self.

You can’t very well help that person over there, if you have more problems than s/he does. – Offering ourselves means actually giving our-self over to God. The question comes of course though, “what exactly does that mean?”. For different people, it naturally means different things, however, there is one, “rule of thumb,” which is that offering ourselves to God means getting rid of our own, “problems” first.

When flying Continental (now United) airlines, they always play a safety video (or have flight attendants demonstrate it) in which they describe what you should do if we, “experience a decrease in cabin pressure”. For the most part, it involves a mask falling from a compartment above, your putting it over your face and pulling two white straps. They always tell you though to remember to, “put on your own mask before assisting those next to you.”. – It’s impossible to help someone else if you’re dying of asphyxiation. Maybe not the best example, but you get the general point (I hope).

Second, now that we know what it means to actually be the sacrifice being offered, what does it mean to be the priest offering our-self? …

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Simply put, it means offering our-self to God. Being a sacrifice means being offered while being a priest means offering.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)

The point (to everything I said)? Through the blood of Jesus, we have been made royal priests of God, offering ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him. Through Christ’s death on the cross on our behalf, we have been made a new creature, spotless and clean, a living sacrifice to God.

Do not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him. (Deuteronomy 17:1)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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