Sacrifice Or Exchange?

Q. I praise God I have you to go to when I lack wisdom. You’ve been a great help. I was reading one of your writings that explained our salvation is based on what we believe, not how we behave, and that leading a life of sacrifice was man’s idea, not God’s. If that’s the case what does it mean to deny ourselves and take up our Cross and follow Him, and also Romans 12:1, which says to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. What am I missing here?

A. As I wrote in the article, the common meaning of sacrifice is to give up something you want, receiving nothing in return. This is not what the Bible tells us. It speaks more accurately of an exchanged life, trading the desires of the flesh which bring eternal damnation for the fruit of the Spirit, which brings eternal life (Gal. 5:19-23).

Denying ourselves means to cancel our original plans for our life and embrace His will for our life instead. Taking up our cross means putting the old self to death. But in doing these things we’re putting ourselves in position to receive blessings that far out weigh the things we’ve given up.

In Romans 12:1 we’re told to offer our selves as living sacrifices. This means that we give our lives as an offering to God to do with as He will. But again it’s not that we’re sacrificing anything, it’s that we’re exchanging something for something better.

According to Romans 12:6, doing this brings us gifts, supernatural abilities that enable us to do things for the Lord and for each other that we could never do otherwise. Things that bring us great and lasting satisfaction and eternal joy. If you haven’t looked at it this way before, then you have been missing something.

“I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

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