31 Jan 2014 by Natasha Kim CM –
God desires for us to love one another, for only then can we truly experience the mercy of his love. Mercy and sacrifice are two ways of living and are in fact two opposites. The distinction between mercy and sacrifice, points to the distinction between the gospel and the law. According to the dictionary, mercy is defined as a disposition to be kind and loving while sacrifice is defined as, the want to kill and destroy. At this day and age, mercy seems foreign to the thinking of the world we live in, in a world where everyone has an objective to gain. Sacrifice is as old as humankind itself, and it came into our thoughts and minds when sin came to the world. In some cases, sacrifice it is very severe. However, know that God does not want to selfishly glorify Himself in the sacrifices offered to Him. He wants mercy! The world and all God’s creation in it is designed by the mercy He has for us, and because of that it is important to live in mercy to truly understand God and experience His love.
In some cases, sacrifice is ideal such as when it is a means of submitting ourselves to God, such as when we choose to fast. However, if God Himself desires mercy above all, then we must not use the commands He has given as impulsive loyalty tests to give Him “glory” in a way that isn’t merciful.
Brother Alwyn Lau recently preached on the 26th of January, at Luther House Chapel (LHC), regarding this topic. As Christians we have to ensure we do not become like the Pharisees that Jesus came to stop. Our obedience isn’t measured by our sacrifices, instead it is measured by how God’s mercy moves us.
Proverbs 15:8 – 9
"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves him who follows righteousness."
Psalm 51:16 -17
"For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise."
"Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people— The fruit of their thoughts, Because they have not heeded My words Nor My law, but rejected it. For what purpose to Me Comes frankincense from Sheba, And sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, Nor your sacrifices sweet to Me."
Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, in the above verses. This tells us that this was not the original meaning behind these words. Jesus came to clarify what the people in the Old Testament never truly understood! This does not mean that the law is not important but instead teaches us of the context that we must place the Law in. In the Bible Paul stated that His laws will be within our hearts and minds, He did not say that they will no longer matter. Both testaments exist to teach us. When you read it all studiously and prayerfully you will be able to make sense of it all.
God shows mercy towards us, therefore it is our job to reflect that mercy onto others around us. We should not allow our relationship with God to turn us away from helping another in need, especially when it may open a door to show them the LORD's love for them and guide them to salvation. This is the principal that Jesus wanted to teach all of mankind. Hence, don’t allow the mere works of the world to blind you from the true nature of God's will for us. Without His Spirit and His Nature, the Law causes no good, but to condemn us and cause us to stumble. Jesus had great compassion for the lost and needy. What stood out in the scriptures, is how important people acting out in faith was to Him. They were rewarded just for their faith, regardless of their sin.
Do you put emphasis on Mercy or Sacrifice?
1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.
12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
13 Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
References for pictures