Hebrews 13:15 NIV - …Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise…
We have been discussing the one remaining sacrifice that we are to offer the Lord: the Sacrifice of Praise. Christ has fulfilled every other sacrifice of Scripture so that we could stand in His Righteousness before the Father. At the end of our service this morning, we will go to His Table to be reminded that His Body was broken and His Blood was shed, so that there is now a New Covenant between Heaven and Earth.
Over the years of pastoral ministry, I have had people ask me, “Why did Jesus need to die for our sins? Why the cross? Couldn’t The Father simply have wiped them away, forgiven and forgotten, as though our sins did not take place? Could He not have just ‘forgiven’ the debt without the brutality of the Cross? It seems so harsh.”
Part of the error with this line of reasoning, is that the horror of sin has been redefined by our modern culture. We prefer to use terminology that is not so severe or “insensitive.” Sin is now seen as an error, a mistake, a vulnerability, a propensity to failure, and not as an Evil Task Master enslaving people. The horrible violations against women, abuses of children, exploitation of the poor, bigotries, the taking of life, extortion, jealousy, envy, greed are all far more than just mistakes, it is the activity of Sin. Every transgression takes something from the life of someone, and collectively it diminishes all of us as a society. All sin creates a debt. It is not done in a vacuum. We can apologize, but we cannot pay the staggering liability that has created the gaping hole within our hearts and drained the very soul of our civilization.
To wave one’s hand and offer a forgiveness without sacrifice as though this horrible iniquity, transgression, and corruption are somehow cosmically okay, is to never have understood the tragedy of Sin. It is to not appreciate the cost of forgiveness; and it is to misappropriate the loving compassion of Almighty God.
“Forgiveness means bearing the cost. God has a just passion to defeat evil and a loving desire to forgive.” --Timothy Keller
Therefore, “Real Love” is Sacrificial because true forgiveness is costly. It exacts a toll on the one who has been hurt, offended, robbed, or violated. God is a God who is Just. To pretend that sin is okay, is not Justice and it is not Grace. Instead, it is profoundly unjust and delusional. What Christ did was pay the cost. The great debt of Humanity (corporately and individually) was laid upon Him and He freely bore the UNTOLD COST, and SACRIFICED the PURITY of His LIFE so that JUSTICE would be met, so Evil would be DEFEATED, and so FORGIVENESS could be received!
1 John 4:10 CEV - Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.
Dr. Tobey Montgomery