99.9% ain't gonna be enough

The other week, right before Easter, a long-time friend shared an article with me about the death of Jesus. The author of the article asked the question, "Why did Jesus die?", and the reason he gave wasn't quite the one I was expecting. He said that Jesus died primarily to show us what love looks like.

Now I don't disagree that dying for someone is a supreme act of love, but in the case of Jesus it was more than just one shining moment that put Him on that cross. When Jesus went to the cross, He went as a sacrifice for our sins. In other words, if Jesus didn't die on the cross and then rise from the grave, we don't have forgiveness of sins. Did love compel Him to die? Yes! But His blood actually purchased something for you and me. The cross stands as more than just an example of affection.

As I mulled these things over in my mind, I began to wonder about what the word sacrifice really means. Sometimes we say that we are going to make sacrifices in our lives so that we can pay off a debt or allow someone else to have a chance to flourish. But when we do those things - which are really good things to do, by the way - what do they really cost us? Have we really sacrificed like Jesus did?

Here is the truth about sacrifice: It will cost you everything. Think about it. When Jesus died as a sacrifice on the cross for you, what did He hold back? Nothing! A sacrifice isn't a sacrifice if it doesn't demand all that you have to give. If I see someone who is hungry and give them half of my sandwich, that is a nice gesture of love but it's not really a sacrifice because I still have the other half to put into my belly. A true sacrifice gives all.

Paul wrote in Romans 12:1 that we are to present our bodies - our very lives - as a living sacrifice to God. His words are carefully chosen here because, in urging us to give all that we have, he also reminds us that we still are to go on living. When animals were sacrificed in the temple prior to Jesus' coming, their blood was spilled on the altar and their life was snuffed out. There was no life left in the animal so the sacrifice had to be repeated again and again with other animals.

But when Jesus died on the cross, His sacrifice was enough. It eternally satisfied the heart of God. That's because when Jesus died, He didn't stay dead. He rose from the grave and He still lives today. So when you as a Christian are called to offer your life as a living sacrifice, that means that you die to the way that you used to live - your desires, ambitions, selfish motives - and in turn live fully for the glory of God.

It means that you hold nothing back from Him. No goals in life, no relationships, no possessions are to be free from the sacrifice. If you choose to hold something back for yourself then you will never know the joy of relying fully on God for all that you need.

A sacrifice means all or nothing. It requires ultimate trust and the all the faith that you can possibly muster. You see, if you truly wish to live for Jesus as a living sacrifice, then you are going to have to give up the entire sandwich.

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