Daily Devotion, 09/10/2018, “Dying to Live”
Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews was originally written to convince Jewish people who were well versed in what we today call the Old Testament that Jesus truly was the Messiah they had been waiting for. That’s why the letter continually refers to The Law, the priesthood, animal sacrifices and so on as a way of pointing the readers to who Jesus is and who we are in light of who He is. When a non-Christian Jew thought of sacrifice, they thought primarily of sacrificing animals in accordance with The Law as a means of having their sins atoned for. Because Jesus was the final sacrifice for all sin, the need for animal sacrifices ended with His death and resurrection. A personal faith in what Jesus did on the cross replaced the ritual act of animal sacrifice. There are, however, other sacrifices we are to make as Christ-followers.
In his letter to the Christ-followers in Rome, Paul writes, “in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”(Romans 12:1) That sounds a little confusing because sacrificed creatures are by definition dead, not “living.” Paul’s point is that we must choose each day to sacrifice those desires, agendas, addictions, etc. that are within us by dying to self and living in Christ. I begin each day with that in mind by praying something like, “Jesus, I submit my will, rights and all control to you. May your kingdom come and your will be done in me today.” From that posture of submission, I can bring God the sacrifices mean the most to Him, the “sacrifice of praise” and the sacrifice of doing good to others and sharing with them. I’ll write about that tomorrow morning. For today, ask God to show you any way within you that you need to sacrifice now so that you can live for Him today. You are loved!