Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mercy Not Sacrifice

Matthew 9:13, 12:7 - But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice," you would not have condemned the guiltless. 
Hosea 6:6 - For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

But go and learn what this means...if you had known what this means...

It is clear that God does not desire our sacrifices, our works, for His approval for our salvation. He wants to give us mercy when we first come to Him. It's not about what we can do for Him but what He has done for us. Our works are sort of like our boasting in what we've done. We can do nothing on our own to receive the life Jesus gives to us when we come to Him.

Webster's definition of mercy: kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly; kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation. Boy, that describes all of us before receiving Christ. Then there's Webster's definition of sacrifice: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone; an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god. Animals for sacrifice in the Old Testament had to be spotless. The one bringing the animal had to kill it, so it became personal.  Look at Jesus. He was spotless. God allowed Him to be killed. And Jesus was quite personal to His Father, God...

Scripture shows us we cannot come to God as righteous, guiltless individuals. That's not why Jesus came. He came to save the lost, not those who thought they had it altogether. It would be arrogant to think one might be able to clean oneself up by doing good to be received by God. Oh....we are not to be received by God but we are to receive Christ.  We come as sinners through repentance of our sins and receive His mercy and grace. The sacrifices that were done in Old Testament times are over. Jesus became our sacrifice.

But go and learn what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice! Hebrews 9:9 tells us the sacrifices were only symbolic of what was to come. He requires us. Like Jesus sacrificed Himself, His body, so should we. He wants our heart and soul. He desires we be open to receive Him and His Word, take it into our hearts and obey it. Without this understanding all some do is sacrifice by works which will not be acceptable. It may be one reason He says the road is narrow that leads to life. By faith we we receive His mercy; by that faith in God's power to grant mercy, not faith in our works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

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