The picture of sacrifice is like a red thread woven through God’s whole redemption story. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, their sin was covered by the slaying of an animal. Prior to the exodus from Egypt, one lamb was sacrificed for each family unit. Then annually, on the Day of Atonement, the priest would go into the holy of holies to present the blood of the sacrifice on behalf of the nation after laying his hands on the head of a goat that he sent out into the wilderness (the “scapegoat”) bearing the sins of the people. Finally, at the cross, Jesus, the Lamb of God, sacrificed His life for the entire world.
This shows His plan of sacrifice: first for a man and a woman, then for a family, for a nation, and ultimately, for the world. Like a rock hurled into a pond, the ripples of His forgiveness moves out in an ever-widening circle. Now each of us, Jew or Gentile, who believes is made righteous before God by the sacrifice, freely given, of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. On the night of the first Passover, the lamb that was slain spared the Israelites from death; and today, Jesus is our Passover Lamb.
No life worth living is free from sacrifice—chosen sacrifice. There’s a difference between sacrifice forced upon you and sacrifice chosen by you. When we willingly choose to sacrifice, our faith grows, because we are saying, “God, You are enough.” We grow spiritually when we go without needing a deeper reason. Sacrifice is seen throughout the biblical narrative: God sacrificing for us, then calling us to respond; presenting our lives as a living sacrifice. Sacrifice is seen in the Passover meal.
God’s will requires sacrifice. If it doesn’t cost you something, it probably isn’t done for Him. Does this show an aspect of God that is punishing? No, just the opposite. It shows His graciousness to use sacrifice as a tool to strip away our excess baggage. God’s great love requires us to lay down our ease. Real life is found in sacrifice, not in acquisition.
God’s will requires sacrifice, but miraculously, the sacrifice becomes a blessing. Most of us live in the tension of buying and giving, serving and dining, and that’s okay. Both are fine but lean toward sacrifice.