A sacrifice can be defined as an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity. A sacrifice is given to appease, to correct a wrong doing so as to get a pardon or to get forgiven. A sacrifice is not a true sacrifice if it causes no pain to the person offering it. To give a sacrifice, there must be a reason because sacrifice involves letting go of something that is important to you. A true sacrifice comes with pain but comes from an even deeper place which is a place of love.
In the old testament, the people were pardoned whenever they offered a sacrifice which was categorized into burnt offering; trespass offering amongst others. The new testament on the other hand talks about a kind of sacrifice that cannot be referred to as an offering like those offered in the time of the prophets. Here, a sacrifice must be borne out of love which is why the offerings made by the “people of old” had little or no effect on their behavior because they saw it as a routine; they saw it as something they were to do to prevent destruction.
What God expects from us when we offer a sacrifice is for us to give something that is precious to us. Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies which is a living sacrifice because giving up your life means giving up your will and as humans, what makes us strong is our will so once we decide to offer our life, it causes pain but the pain is quickly taken away by the new reality which we get – eternal life.
1 Samuel 15:22b tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice and we know that obedience to God means loving Him and you prove you love Him by loving others. When you love others, it shows obedience and also totally submission which is sacrifice to God irrespective of how you feel.
Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21 that,
“For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain”.
To die is gain because the moment you die, you offer yourself as a true sacrifice. Therefore, you do nothing of your own will anymore instead you rely on God’s total direction before indulging in anything. So death being a gain means you have sacrificed yourself and you have been accepted.
The bedrock to any sacrifice is love. When a sacrifice is offered without love, it holds no significance. Christ sacrificed Himself for us to reconcile us to God. He went through pains but He remained there because of love. The love He has for us made Him stay on the cross. A true sacrifice must have a good intention found in love. The love makes the pain felt during sacrifice worth it.
Most people want a painless sacrifice but a painless sacrifice is nothing but a show off. A true sacrifice involves pain which is to make you know that you have decided to do what pleases God though your flesh may feel displeased. A sacrifice is a decision to be made by a person to make it count. Nobody can force you to make a sacrifice you don’t want to. Jesus was not forced to die; He willingly gave his life (Matthew 26:46 – 57). His willingness amongst other things made His sacrifice acceptable. Your sacrifice can only be accepted when done in love because love is what keeps you going when things are not going according to your plan.
John 1:4 says,
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men”.
Christ’s life is our light and as a light, He shows us the way. Christ’s life was a life of sacrifice so He shows us that the way to find God is through the sacrifice we make because of our love for Him. Christ is the one true Sacrifice and should be our example (John 13:15).