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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Sin

From the pen of Joseph Alleine:

“Oh, better were it for you to die in a jail, in a ditch, in a dungeon, than to die in your sins. If death, as it will take away all your comforts, would take away all your sins too, it were some mitigation; but your sins will follow you when your friends leave you, and all your worldly enjoyments shake hands with you. Your sins will not die with you as a prisoner’s other debts will; but they will go to judgment with you there to be your accusers; and they will go to hell with you there to be your tormentors.”

Patriotism

Quoting George Washington’s Farewell Address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity. Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness—these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. (October 19, 1796)

Sacrifice Or Sin?

I would like to ask you something: What is “sacrifice”? People think of the word “sacrifice” in many ways. There are many who will tell you that sacrifice is giving up something of greater value for something of lesser value. However, when it comes to the spiritual discipline of sacrifice in the Christian life – we must be on the same page as God. If you wish to live a life of righteousness, there must be sacrifice.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 ESV)

In all that exists, God is of supreme value. So in one sense the Christian is always called on to sacrifice something of lesser value to honor God who is the greatest value. The problem is that the nature of sin in our souls very often blinds us to the reality of God’s glory and we begin to glory in the lesser things which are self-destructive. Therefore, our darkened minds refuse to sacrifice sin and so lose the benefits of the “pearl of great price”.

If we are to live rightly, we must sacrifice our lust for the things of the kingdom of Satan. How foolish we must seem to that demon’s eyes. It looks upon us and enjoys a jolly good laugh as we frantically chase after worldliness. So, is our idea of a “sacrifice” the same as what the Bible calls a “sacrifice”? Another important question to ask yourself would be; “Is your sacrifice completed with an unwilling heart?” If so, God will not accept it.

“All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.” (Exodus 35:29 ESV)

Partial sacrifices will not do. Do I remind you that sacrificial animals had to die? They did not suffer for just a little while. Yet this is the way that people are today. Christians will not mind suffering a bit. On the other hand, they are not willing to die for the cause of Christ. We try to bargain with God and seek a more beneficial compromise. We forget that God does not compromise.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44 ESV)

These verses tell us that many rich people gave generous amounts of money. Later, a poor widow came to the offering box and put in two small copper coins. The Lord then called His disciples to Him and said, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

The rich gave, but they had given out of their abundance. Because the rich had given out of their abundance, they made no sacrifice in their giving. The widow, however, put only two copper coins of the smallest value into the offering box. Yet, this offering was more than all the rich together. She had cast in all she had and all she had to live on. Her gift was a true sacrifice because it was completely given.

A true sacrifice costs something. It cost our Lord Jesus Christ as He made the greatest sacrifice ever given. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15 ESV) Because of His love for us, He freely lay down His life.

Christ gave His all. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8 ESV) The Lord wants us to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice unto Him. He is asking nothing less than for you to give up your secret sins! Are you willing to make such a sacrifice to honor Jesus Christ or do you give up God’s glory for petty lusts?

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