Monday, May 3, 2010

"One Sacrifice"

"They (the prophets of Baal) took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them" (I Kings 18:26-28).

The pagan prophets of Baal confirm the futility of devilish and human religion, which is always based on human sacrifice rather than the Divine power of the Lord Jesus Christ's "one sacrifice for sins forever" (Hebrews 10:12).

Elijah's mocking led the prophets to literally offer the sacrifice of their own blood. This extreme version of seeking God's appeasement and favor is one of countless ways devised by humanity to procure His blessing. All false teaching somehow directs attention away from the person and work of the Lord Jesus, tempting us to believe that our own works and sacrifices are necessary to motivate God's actions on our behalf. This results in the decentralization of the Divine, and the exaltation of human flesh to de facto godhood. Satan originated this diversion in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve that partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would lead to a higher state of being and consciousness. "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5).

The Christian life involves countless sacrifices and works on our part. Such actions, however, are the fruit of the Holy Spirit's moving within us, and our response of faith and submission to the glory of God. Never are such actions required to appease our Heavenly Father, or to motivate Him to act on our behalf. Christ alone is the basis of God's of salvation and supply, even as the Apostle Paul exulted, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). We trust and obey God from His salvation and supply rather than to it.

The hymnist beautifully declared such Divine exaltation and human acquiescence: "Nothing in my hand I bring, only to Thy cross I cling." Even more sublime is the New Testment's continual affirmation that relationship with God begins and eternally continues by the power and efficacy of "one sacrifice for sins forever." We do well to ask our Heavenly Father to show us if in any manner we are drawing our own blood, as it were, rather than trusting completely in the saving and sanctifying value of the blood of the Lord Jesus. Our God is not "talking," or "pursuing," or "in a journey," or "sleeping." He is rather alive, present, and dynamically active on our behalf. However, He must be known, trusted, and obeyed according to the way of grace and truth in the Lord Jesus rather than the countless forms of pagan sacrifice that tempt us. "I am the way" He declared. There is no other way, and we need no other (John 14:6).

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith."
(Hebrews 10:19-22).

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