Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 15, 2013 0 comments

When I think of the word sacrifice, I think of all sorts of negative things - having to give up something that I treasure; doing without something important; and dead, bloody animals. The word sacrifice comes from Latin, and it literally means “to make sacred.” That doesn’t really seem to fit my thoughts on the word; or does it?

The first sacrifice recorded in the Bible is by two brothers, Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3-8). They were the first children of the first people created. In that story, they both brought part of their stuff to God; Cain brought some of his fruits and Abel brought the good portions of his livestock. Unfortunately, that story ended badly; Cain was jealous of his brother since God saw only Abel’s sacrifice as pleasing, and he killed him.

We see another sacrifice in Genesis 8:20, where Noah kills some animals as an offering to God, since he was thankful that God delivered him and his family from the flood. Sacrifices are also used when God makes a covenant (a promise) with His people, such as in Exodus 24:3-8.

We see from these examples and others that in the Old Testament, sacrifices were bloody and messy and involved the death of an animal. But what about in the New Testament? Well, the most significant sacrifice we see there is that of Jesus dying on the cross. If you read that narrative in any of the gospels, you’ll see that it was messy and bloody and involved death as well.

So in all of these examples, sacrifice is a pretty negative thing, involving blood and death. So why does the word itself literally mean “to make sacred”? That comes from the meaning behind the physical act. Hebrews 10:12-14 says, “But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

Jesus’s sacrificial death itself was pretty messy; but the result of it is the opportunity for us to be made holy and perfect! We may need to sacrifice some comforts in this life in order to truly have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, but because He went through that for us and truly did sacrifice His life for us, we will be made perfect with Him forever.