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Some things require sacrifice: if God desires mercy, what about those of us that must die?

Discussion in 'Requests for Christian Advice' started by Gottservant, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Gottservant

    Gottservant God loves your words, may men love them also Supporter

    Hi there,

    So yes, it is a blunt message to me, that there are certain things in life that "require" sacrifice. Revelation speaks with praise about those that "love not their lives, to the death" - but this clashes with the idea that Christ died for us, doesn't it? Didn't Jesus die, so that sacrifice no longer be asked of us? And if it is asked, then what, is it a greater sacrifice? Can we depend on those that come after Christ the way we depended on Christ? I feel helpless. My ideas betray me, constantly and then I find I am complicit in defining them, and all of it comes down to the cross. There is just no way to face the cross, the way Christ did from the beginning, but to the Devil it is equally irrelevant - making it twice as hard!

    I don't know what sort of help I need. I have confidence in the Word. I have spirit in the Holy Spirit - I guess what I need is to wait it out. The real confidence will outshine the confidence of this world. Will I change? Probably I will, I would like to. It is out in the great ocean of the faith that I have to learn how to swim, I must learn not to fight the rips or take my chances on the rocky outcrops of the coast. If I start to drown, I must float. If I start to turn, I must confess the Lord while there is still hope. The way in which I should go is still before me, as it has been from the outset. So much has changed, and yet the world turns as it always has.

    Am I being melodramatic? I think I need to get rid of the idea, that I am doing it on my own. I have brothers and sisters with me, whom I can pray for to the end. That will make the end worth facing. Their hurts are my hurts, their pains are mine. I trust them to pray as they ought, for the end we all face, but also the sacrifice - that is where my confusion is rooted: am I struggling for a prize? If sacrifice is no different than the Lord's why my effort? Why my commitment? All these things are wrapped up in what God has set His face to, that He not prevent the sacrifice that is to come, until every man's faith is accounted for: the one that would refuse death anything, and the one that would include every man's death for it. That is where I need council - how do you handle the lawlessness of this Age? That, is where the greatest struggle of this Age is, not the stupendous price of ignoring the end, but learning to live with it, when even the closest of your friends has already gone before you.

    I am headed for sorrow. Jesus' sorrow was to death. I would have thought there would be comfort by now, that a simple answer to my struggle would have a foreshadow in something, anything that would assure me that if I reach Heaven as was promised, I will not flinch at the sight of God, there. I don't want to hurt Him. I don't want to find the pleasures of Heaven are dross, compared to the life of comfort I could have lived, if I had just been a coward, in the eyes of the world. But I am not the eyes of the world and I will not back down. We have had two world wars already, being ready for the tribulation will save the world from another, perhaps many. There is no small blessing in that, that I have time, a true proof of concept difference, that people are not unfamiliar with the price that must continue to be paid, that peace be taken seriously.

    Yes, I take peace seriously - how long will my brothers have to struggle that they do the same? There is the impasse: even God must join the struggle - our sacrifice saves Him nothing.

    If the Holy Spirit has Word for us, in this, please share it.
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Shrewd Manager

    Shrewd Manager Through him, in all things, more than conquerors. Supporter

    The Christian walk shouldn't be governed by a 'what's in it for me' attitude, but the 'labour of love' be-attitudes as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount. Sure there are rewards in heaven, but do you think Christ was motivated by the 'carrot' of inheriting the Father's property when he sweat blood in the garden and said 'Not my will but thine'? Was Paul selfishly motivated by the prospect of all those crowns when he forsook all to follow Christ? By no means!

    This kind of wrong thinking can be traced imho to the false and wicked eternal hell doctrine, which terrorises so many into buying the unconscious error that God is partial and capricious, when in actuality he has every hair on your head numbered, His love for us is profound beyond our understanding.

    So to love not your life is to free you by Jesus' example into putting others first, going the extra mile and even to lay down your life for the truth, strong in the faith that Jesus has conquered death, and therefore it is not something to be feared. Slaughtered as sheep all day long, yet more than conquerors in Christ.
  3. Norbert L

    Norbert L Well-Known Member Supporter

    Christian Seeker
    There's only a very short and small amount of time I am able to deal with enormous problems. Matthew 6:34
  4. Pop D.

    Pop D. Member

    United States
    He died for the sake of our eternal souls, not our lives in this sinful world.
  5. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

    United Kingdom
    Romans 12:1+2 about being transformed in our thinking and not conforming to the pattern of this world.

    It takes a lot of thinking about and courage to live as Jesus would have you.
    How do you? Try obeying the ten commandments.
    Honesty, integrity at work, in one's social life etc will make you stand out, as will letting your yes or no be yes or no.

    Think about how honest one is at work.
    That pen, phone call, time wasting is all theft.

    What pattern is that from?
  6. FutureAndAHope

    FutureAndAHope Just me Supporter

    Suffering is a topic that I too do not fully understand. But the bible says:

    Job 5:7 But trouble is man's fate from birth, as the flames go up from the fire.

    All people will experience trouble, but the degree of that trouble varies, as we see in the book of Daniel where it speaks of the Last Day:

    Dan 11:33-35 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

    We see at the time of Revelation, that "some of them", shall fall. To make them white. We all have spots, bits of us that are not 100% pure. The cross is there to cover our weaknesses. In heaven, those who have purified themselves will shine with greater glory. Those who suffer for Christ with an even brighter light. The suffering of Christians during the book of Revelation is to separate a people aside who will dwell even closer to Christ, and share in his glory. Who is separated to this purpose, is in Christ's hands.

    We should not spend our life in worry about the degree of suffering we may be lead through. Not every believer will suffer physically in their life, but we can all expect some emotional trouble during our lives, some difficulties.

    1Pe 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:
  7. Melody Suttles

    Melody Suttles SingPeace Supporter

    United States
    Hebrews 13:16
    Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

    Romans 12:1-2
    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Our sacrifices have nothing to do with our salvation - that was paid in full on the cross.

    Our sacrifices are that we no longer act or think like the world - we exchange love for hate; mercy for being made a victim; we give without expecting to receive.... and on and on.....

    To the world, we look like fools. They trade hate for hate, etc. So it is a kind of sacrifice for us in that we do what Jesus would do if He were here. We do it because we are now becoming like him and must fight the flesh and fulfill the Spirit's leading - even if it means we find ourselves imprisoned in a middle-east country for baptising children in secret. The sacrifice then becomes one's determination to proclaim Christ as Lord no matter how many atrocities are acted against one. It's a sacrifice because it's hard - if one denies Christ, the torture stops. This is a great sacrifice not because it has to do with finishing out payment for salvation. That's done. But because He loved me. He loved me when noone else would. He made me a new creature with a new nature and a new start. He gave me a home in Heaven - a mansion. He paid the price to set me free from my slave-drive and my owner. He took me away from that. I must endure hardships just as I will enjoy blessings. I love him and will do my sacrifices that might bring the lost to their own salvation - to increase the kingdom of Heaven which pleases the Lord.
  8. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    I think you're mixing up kinds of sacrifice. Jesus died in atonement for our sin, he sacrificed himself on our behalf, paying the penalty for our sin, and reconciling us to God. This sacrifice, though, was one only he could make, being the perfect, eternal Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We are not called upon to make the same sacrifice for sin that our Saviour made. Our sacrifice, as born-again children of God, is one of love, of obedience, and praise, not atonement.

    Salvation is actually an exchange: The riches of God in Christ given to us by trusting in Christ as Saviour and Lord and our foul, selfish, sin-cursed life of rebellion and ignorance forsaken, yielded up to God as the dead and useless thing it is. Unfortunately, many believers think of salvation as a transaction occurring in only one direction. God gives salvation, we take it; God redeems, justifies and sanctifies us, we accept it; God gives us new spiritual life in His Son, we receive it. While this is all true, it is not the whole story.

    Matthew 16:24-25
    24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
    25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

    Matthew 10:37-39
    37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
    38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
    39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

    John 12:23-25
    23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
    24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
    25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

    What's more, God enters our lives as God; not as a "co-pilot," not as an accessory, not as a spiritual back-up battery, but as God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. He comes to rule us, to be the Center, the Hub, around which we revolve, our Lord and King, who has bought us with a price, and whose temple we are (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

    God is not a co-Ruler, sharing the throne of our hearts with us, with our Self. We have to go - in fact, we must die in order to live, as Jesus said. And so, we read all throughout the NT statements like the following:

    Romans 6:1-11
    1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
    2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
    3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
    6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
    7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
    8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
    9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
    10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
    11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    Romans 6:22
    22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

    Romans 12:1
    1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

    Galatians 2:20
    20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

    Galatians 5:24
    24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    Colossians 3:3
    3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    And so on.

    No one can self-crucify - not physically and not spiritually. And so, God has done the job for us, crucifying us with Christ and so freeing us from the power of Self and Sin, from bondage to the devil and the world, and delivering us into the kingdom of His dear Son. What remains is for us to know that we are already crucified, that we have been taken by God to the cross and co-crucified with Christ, and live now in newness of life in him. Knowing this, we are, by faith, to "reckon it so." (Romans 6:11) As we do, the Holy Spirit conforms us in our daily living to the truth of our co-crucifixion with Jesus.

    The cross, then, is impossible for us. And so, God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves, putting to death our "old man" for us, freeing us from the power of sin, the world and the devil, enabling us to live in denial of Self every day. So, you don't have to "face the cross," you've already been crucified on it with Jesus. Believe it. Trust that it is so. And as you do, as you stand by faith on the reality of your co-crucifixion with Christ, the Spirit will shape you more and more to it in your living.

    I'm glad you recognized how much Self there was in the above quotation from your OP. Just as God was the One who drew you to Christ (John 6:44), who gave you the ability to repent (2 Timothy 2:25), who opened your mind to the truth of the Gospel, and who provided salvation in Christ to you (1 Corinthians 1:30-31), He is also the One who gives you both the ability and the desire to do His will.

    Philippians 2:13
    13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

    Philippians 1:6
    6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

    2 Corinthians 3:18
    18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
    23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

    And so on.

    You didn't save yourself and you can't transform yourself; both are God's domain, they are things for which God has taken responsibility. He changes you; you don't change for Him. Too often, believers are straining and striving to be who only God can make them to be. They run ahead of God, trying to do for Him rather than letting Him do for them. There is only frustration and failure, however, along this line. You can really only produce more of you; only God can make you godly.

    Are you? Only you know. Paul was:

    Philippians 3:12-14
    12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
    13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
    14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

    Handle it? No, reject it. Separate yourself from it. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:1-21) You are a stranger and pilgrim in this world, looking toward a heavenly, eternal home. Live in the light of this reality.

    Oh, really? Hmmm...

    Hebrews 12:2
    2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    But you have no standing with God except what is obtained through your trust in Christ as your Saviour and Lord. We are all of us accepted by God in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6) and on no other basis. In Christ, clothed in his perfect righteousness, you may come boldly unto the throne of grace, a joint-heir with Jesus and beloved child of God. It is not the love of God that makes you fear. His great and enduring love for you ought to engender joy and rest, not fearful anticipation of judgment.

    1 John 4:16-19
    16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
    17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
    18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
    19 We love, because He first loved us.

    There is really only one pleasure in heaven: God Almighty. One who knows and loves Him here on earth, living to His glory, delighting in fellowship with Him on this side of the grave, will never find Him "dross" in eternity, but deeply fulfilling, an infinitely rich and astonishing Reality, far exceeding our wildest imaginings and satisfying beyond description.

    Friend, your eyes are too much on yourself. You aren't what's important. God is. Look away from yourself; be totally occupied with Christ. As you are, the concerns and fears that grip you will fall away, replaced by a holy joy at the wonder of your Saviour.

    2 Corinthians 3:18
    18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

    "Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
    Look full in his wonderful face.
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of his glory and grace."
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021