When we come before God, can we come empty handed?. Cain and Abel presented sacrifices (gifts) to God. Cain presented grain and was rejected, not for the grain as much as for his attitude. Abel sacrificed a lamb and it was accepted. Did this set a precedent for sacrifice of a living body? Exodus 23:15: “No one shall appear before me ‘empty-handed.” Deuteronomy 16:16-17: “They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed, but each with his own gift, in proportion to the blessing which the LORD, your God, has given to you.”
Since the fall of mankind, we are all sinners. It’s a daily occurrence. We ask for daily bread, for forgiveness of trespasses and to forgive others’ trespasses against us. Conflict stems from two parties wanting their own way. Neither says, ‘Not my will but thy will be done.’ Peace comes by sacrificing our will to His. God works in us to purify us; make us holy as He is. Our corrupt nature resists God’s Spirit. We have much to forsake and replace with Christ’s virtues. It’s a lifetime of sacrificing to never be empty-handed.
Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Notice that worship IS offering a sacrifice. We must sacrifice ‘conformity to this age.’ If the world loves it, God probably does not. Neither should we. Love of money has to be subjected to God’s will. The Apostle explains (verses 9-18) how a sacrificed life behaves: “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. ”The mass is about His sacrifice – and ours. In 1 Corinthians 11:27 St. Paul tells us to ‘examine ourselves’ before receiving communion by considering the Lord’s sacrificed body. Are we sacrificing ourselves in proportion to the blessing His sacrifice gave us? If we come empty-handed is it still worship?
Author: Joe Cox
Photo Credit: Cathopic.com