God did something wonderful for us. We need to repay the debt we owe Him. Paul wrote about this great event in 2Cor 5:15 he (Jesus) died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him, who for their sake died and was raised. The event was very public. It was a day of shame. It was for Jesus who was crucified on a cross on that day. It was also a day of shame for the whole human race whose sins had nailed Him there. Jesus died for us. It wasn’t just anybody who died for us. It was Jesus, the Son of God Himself. The creator of this universe came and allowed some of His creatures to crucify Him. As the late Dr. Leon Morris, a former Principal of Ridley College expressed it, “Remember that you have been died for, and died for by none other, than the Son of God Himself.”
For what purpose did Jesus die? Paul tells us, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. He died for us so that we might live for Him. We are to live for Him! For every moment of our lives! Someone who realised that truth was Jim Elliott. He became a Christian and believed that because Jesus had died for him, he should now live for God, no matter what. He expressed his philosophy on life in this challenging statement, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” He had his whole life before Him as he entered Bible College. But he gave up everything to go to South America as a missionary to witness to the Auca Indians. They had been called “savages” who had been untouched by the gospel. Eventually they killed him but God worked through the early efforts of Jim Elliott and then through his widow and other missionaries to bring many of those native people to Christ. When news of his and his friends’ deaths became known, it led to a great impetus in young people applying for the mission field. He lived his short life for Jesus and did not die in vain.
We may never have to go through what he went through. But we do need to have the same total commitment of all we are and have, to be disciples of Christ. As someone wisely said, “No sacrifice we could ever make for Him, would ever be too great”. However the sacrifice we make is a willing sacrifice, of ourselves. As Paul wrote in Romans 12, we present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices to do His will. Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
We notice in this verse that the appeal to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, is based on the mercies of God and not on the terrors of Hell. The mercy of God was seen in Jesus’ death on the cross for human sinners. (See a previous article 148 on the death of Jesus “for” sinners.) The sacrifice we offer is said to be “holy” and “acceptable” to God. It is “holy” (hagian from hagios = holy or set apart) because it is set apart to God. It is “acceptable” (euarestos = well pleasing) to Him because He accepts that which is offered to Him in all humility and sincerity. The final phrase “spiritual worship” represents the Greek phrase (logiken latreian) which can mean both “spiritual worship” and “reasonable service”. Believers in offering themselves see such action as worshipping God in spirit and as being motivated within by the Holy Spirit. They also see it as a logical or reasonable thing to do in serving God, eg., It makes sense that we should do this in response for all He has done for us in Jesus.”
In presenting our bodies we are presenting all we are and have to Him. We want to do His will, in gratitude for all He has done for us. But how can we learn to know and to do God’s will for us? That will be the theme of the next article in Part 3.
Blog No 150. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Friday 23rd May 2014