God’s Appearing Causes Total Consecration (2)
Rom. 12:1 I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us because we have judged this, that One died for all, therefore all died; (15) And He died for all that those who live may no longer live to themselves but to Him who died for them and has been raised.
(Part 2 of 2)
God appeared to Abraham, and Abraham built an altar. This altar was not for a sin offering but for a burnt offering. A sin offering is for redemption, while a burnt offering is an offering of ourselves to God. The altar here does not refer to the Lord Jesus’ vicarious death for us; it refers to the consecration of ourselves to God. It was the kind of altar spoken of in Romans 12:1. The mercy of God caused the Lord Jesus to die for us. The mercy of God provided the cross on which we died with Him and on which the devil was dealt with. By the mercy of God we have His life within, and by His mercy, He will bring us into glory. It is on the ground of His mercies [compassions] that God beseeches us to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.
In connection with the burnt offering, we should note that a person of ample resources may have offered a bullock, one with less resources may have offered a sheep, and one whose means were even more limited may have offered a turtledove or pigeon (Lev. 1:3, 10, 14). But whether one offered a bullock, a sheep, or a turtledove or pigeon, the offerer had to offer up the whole. One could not offer half a bullock or half a sheep. God wants everything whole; He does not want a half offering. He cannot accept anything less than utter consecration.
For what purpose was the burnt offering placed on the altar? It was to be wholly burned. Many of us think that we offer ourselves to God to do this or that for Him, whereas what He wants of us is a burning. He does not need a bullock to plow the field for Him; He wants the bullock to be burned on the altar. God is not after our work, but ourselves. He wants us to offer ourselves to Him and be burned for Him. The altar does not signify doing something for God but living for God.
The altar does not mean having busy activities but having a living for God. No activity or work can replace the altar. The altar is a life that is totally for God. Unlike the sacrifice of the Old Testament, which was utterly burned in one act, the sacrifice of the New Testament, as depicted in Romans 12, is the presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice. Daily we are consumed on the altar, yet daily we are living; we are ever living, yet ever consumed. This is the sacrifice of the New Testament.