“Five Priestly Sacrifices”

Posted: July 21, 2016 in Christian Life, First Peter, Spiritual Gifts

1 Peter 2:5, 9

Ever since the dawn of human history sacrifices have been offered up to God to satisfy God’s outraged holiness against our sin nature and the sins (lawless behavior – 1 John 3:4) that come from this nature. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lest he die (Genesis 2:17). This involved physical and spiritual death. Death is not annihilation, but the separation of the spirit and soul from the body, or the separation of our spirit and soul from God.

Mosaic Law. Under the Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, God prescribed the sacrifices that the Jews were to make to atone for their sins. There were voluntary sacrifices and mandatory sacrifices. [1] The priests, who came from the tribe of Levi and through Aaron and his sons, carried out daily sacrifices to God on behalf of the Jewish people. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies and offered the blood of an animal on the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant (Leviticus 16:1-34; 23:26-32; Hebrews 9:1-15). This allowed God to live in the midst of Israel for another year. This sacrifice never took away sins, it only covered their sins (Hebrews 10:1-14).

Church. In the New Testament, God established that every Christian is a royal priest (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6). We don’t have to approach God through another man or with bloody sacrifices. The veil of the temple, having been torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51) when Christ died, indicates to us that the believer’s way into the presence of God the Father had been opened for every Christian to go directly to the Father through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15, 16).

Forgive Sins. As New Testament priests we can’t forgive sins. Only God can do that. Jesus proved that He was God, who could forgive sins, by healing a paralytic man (Mark 2:1-11). Nor can we change the bread and the fruit of the vine into the literal body and blood of Christ. We believe that these elements serve as memorials for us to remember Christ until He returns for us (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25; John 14:1-3).

Sacrifices. Having been baptized (immersed) to demonstrate to other people that he/she is a true believer in Christ who died for our sins…and rose again from the dead (Acts 8:34-38), a new believer should present his/her body to God as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God (Romans 12:1, 2). Baptism also enables us to have a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21). If you’ve been saved, have you been immersed? It is to follow faith, not precede it. Dedicating your body to God is the logical thing to do in light of the mercies of God that have been demonstrated to us (See Ephesians 1:3-14). In doing this, we make ourselves available to God for Him to live His quality of life (eternal life) through our lives so others can learn about the true and living God (Galatians 2:20; 4:19; 5:22, 23).

Praise. A second sacrifice that a New Testament priest can/should offer to God regularly is praise. Worship is simply adorning God for who He is as He is presented to us in the Scriptures. We are to worship God by using our spirit that belongs to our minds (Ephesians 4:23) and in the realm of the truth that is found in the Scriptures alone (John 4:24). We are not to concoct mental images of God that don’t align with the Scripture. In praising God, we first recognize the good gift that has come from God (James 1:17) and then try to trace it back to the attribute of God that was responsible for our receiving it. God’s attributes include: goodness, righteousness, omniscience, omnipotence, truth, holiness, and love.

Thanksgiving. Here is a third sacrifice that should continually come forth from the believer’s heart and through his/her lips. We are to give thanks in the midst of all the circumstances of life (1 Thessalonians 5:18; See Romans 8:28), for all things (Ephesians 5:20; See James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 12:7), and for all men (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Only Spirit filled believers are able to do this (Ephesians 5:18).

Good Works. If you are a Christian, did you know that God planned for you to do good works while you are here on planet earth (Ephesians 2:10)? At the time of our salvation He gave each Christian a spiritual gift [2] (1 Peter 4:10) that needs to be used with love (1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:13). These good works are not to pay God back for our salvation, but to glorify God and enhance the work of Christ in the establishment of the true Church, which is His body (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 4:16). If you’re a Christian, do you know what your spiritual gift [2] is, and are you using it with love?  This is a fourth sacrifice.

Sharing. “Let him who is taught in the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (Galatians 6:6). “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (1 Timothy 5:17; See 1 Corinthians 9:1-14). As believers, we are to do good to all men, but especially to those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10; See 1 John 3:16, 17; 1 Timothy 5:1-16).  This is the fifth sacrifice.

Sweet. Just as some of Israel’s sacrifices were sweet smelling to God, so when Christians offer these spiritual sacrifices up to God with the right attitude, He is glorified and well pleased (2 Corinthians 5:9). Other people will be able to see Christ living His quality of life through our lives as the “Fruit of the Spirit” is being displayed (Galatians 5:22, 23). Are you grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19)? Do you have unconfused sins in your life? If so, take care of them by confessing them to God and those whom you have offended (1 John 1:9; James 5:16).

Help.  Realizing that this article may have been a little on the heavy side, it you have questions and/or comments, contact us at 805-238-3549.  We want to help those who are teachable and wiling to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15).

[1] Five Various Sacrifices: http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-sacrifices.html

[2] Spiritual Gifts” See http://kelseypeach.com/bible_basics.htm

Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

Gospel In Less Than 25 Words: http://www.faith.edu/resources/publications/faith-pulpit/message/do-we-really-know-the-gospel/read

God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation in 24 languages. http://www.kelseypeach.com/goodnews.htm

 

 

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