Friday, February 22, 2013

True Sacrifice

          Our lives are like a mirror: what we do reflects who we are. Our actions reveal our character. The first brothers of this earth’s history, for example, thought about obedience very differently from each other, and this is best seen in their different ways of sacrificing.

          God required that each person kill a lamb upon an altar as a sacrifice for sin; for the wages (or cost) of sin is death, according to Romans 6:23. God would then accept the sacrifice as payment for the wrong that was done throughout the day. You see, God had a pattern: The lamb represented Jesus, who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus came to earth and lived and died because He wanted to – he wanted to save us from sin. Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus consider it a joy to die on the cross for us. He paid for our sins: he died so that we can live. We can see that in Romans 5:11 and Isaiah 53:4.

          Now let’s look at those brothers. The first thing to notice is that Abel paid attention to and respected God’s pattern; he recognized the significance of offering a lamb and he believed that God’s plan was best. On the other hand, Cain treated the divine instructions as optional and unbinding. In other words, he felt that he did not have to listen to God, that he could do whatever he wanted.

          The second thing to notice about the two brothers is this: Abel not only respected God’s requirements about sacrifice, but also obeyed them precisely and exactly; while Cain, feeling confident and self-assured, believed that his own, sinful way would be enough. Abel obeyed God completely, never missing one step. Cain thought that it did not matter so much, and that as long as he did his best, he would be fine. After all, did Abel grow such fine fruit as he did? Surely, this harvest was his best offering. But did God accept it? No, because it was not what God required.

          Finally, Cain did not come to God with a spirit of cheerful giving and reverence like Abel did: Cain came to compete with his brother, to show that his way was better, even though he was disobeying God. But God loves a cheerful giver, like the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7. When we give to God, we must do it in a spirit of love and worship, and we must do it as God asks. Just as Jesus gave His life willingly and joyfully and obeyed God in everything, so should we. Abel obeyed God and gave cheerfully: and did God accept his offering? Yes, for it was according to God’s pattern.

          Jesus is our pattern. When God asks us to do something, it is because He wants us to be like Jesus. God wants us to have the mind of Christ. You can read about that in Philippians 2:5-11. Ultimately, Abel’s showed that he had the mind of Christ by his obedience, respect, and worship to God; his brother, though older and supposedly wiser, showed through his actions a character of pride, disrespect, and disobedience – Cain had the mind of Satan, which is very sad. What choice will you make? Will you be like Jesus or Satan? God will give you the mind of Christ if you ask Him. Ask Him today!

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