GOD STILL REQUIRES A SACRIFICE?
There he stands awaiting his demise. Innocent, unaware of what is about to happen. Shaking from fear because he has been snatched from his comfortable home and carried into the city. His owner, probably crying and agonizing over the sacrifice he is about to make, struggles to release him to the priest. He has raised this little lamb up from the time he was born and it is his pet that he loves so much. But now he is being required to take this little lamb that has been his friend and companion and offer him up to be killed as a sacrifice to God.
This kind of sacrifice did not please God nor could it pay the price for the sin of it's owner, how could it? The lamb was innocent and could not commit sin. God requires repentance and only the blood of the guilty can satisfy the demands of justice. So just as God provided the sacrificial lamb for Abraham in place of Issac so He Himself took part of flesh to become the sacrifice for us. A perfect sacrifice not able to sin but innocent blood spilled for the guilty.
God took out all of His anger against the sins of men on the flesh of Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh. He was manifested to men in the flesh (Jesus Christ-God in the flesh) to deliver men from the hell that He had created for the devil and his angels. God never intended for men to go to hell but the devil took us hostage through the lust of the flesh to cause us to sin against God and prevent us from being in God's presence for all eternity.
So what about sacrifice? If it did not please God for men to kill his prized pet as a sacrifice, why would God require a sacrifice today?
The sacrifices that were required by the old covenant demanded that a life should be taken away and exalted death. That is the law of death but God is LIFE and He is not pleased by the death of anyone.
Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
So what kind of sacrifice does God require from those who have accepted the sacrifice that He has provided. Now God requires a LIVING sacrifice that is Holy and pleasing to Him.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
The sacrifice that God requires now is the lust for evil that exists in our mortal bodies because these are the things that bring forth death to us. Paul lays out a good list of these in his letter to the Galatians.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 20 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Most of the things in this list involve self gratification at the expense of others. They are in effect works of the devil that offend the God of Heaven because He requires us to love Him first and others as we do ourselves. These are things our flesh cherishes and desires to fulfill. They are the forbidden fruit because the end of those things is death.
How do we sacrifice these things to God? By denying ourselves (our fleshly lusts) picking up our cross and following Jesus. Our goal should be to deal with these temptations the way Christ did in the wilderness when the devil tempted Him. We have to know the Word of God and be experts at denying temptations through constant practice. We obey the truth in the scriptures when we are tempted and choose to deny the lusts of the flesh. If we call to God when we are tempted He will give us a way out.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
So when you are tempted by the devil and your own flesh to do something that offends Jesus and brings forth death, view it as a sacrifice. Lay it up on the alter of your heart and deny it thereby killing the desire as a sacrifice to your Heavenly Father. If you get angry at someone else; sacrifice the hatred and malice to God by forgiving them and overlooking the offense. Give judgment up to Jesus. This will bring life to your relationships and exalt the God of unconditional love.
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death-sacrifice) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
In conclusion: All that we desire in the flesh will bring forth death so let us take our dead desires and sacrifice them to God so that the Life of Christ will be manifested in our mortal bodies. Then all those around us will see the love of God and the sacrifice that He provided in us which is unconditional, longsuffering and forgiving to all who will accept it. Yes God does require a sacrifice for born again Christians today; the sacrifice of our mortal desires.