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A Message To All From The Cross
"O Lamb of God, was ever pain,
Was ever LOVE like THINE?"
- Adam Clarke Commentary
The most valuable object that any man could ever possess is his own life. To give that up for another is to offer the greatest sacrifice and to express the highest degree of love.
In John 15:13, The Lord Jesus said it this way - "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
There is no greater way that anyone can prove their love for another than to give up their very own life.
We must remember, however, that the Lord did not "lay down His life for His friends" but rather for His enemies. He laid down His life for bitter foes - those who rejected His Lordship over their lives - who mocked, scorned, ridiculed, and crucified Him. We were a part of that thoughtless, inconsiderate, self-centered, cruel, and sinful world who subjected Him to the most bitter and painful death of crucifixion.
In one of his Epistles, the Apostle John defined for us the Love of God in saying - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us..."(1 John 3:16). In other words, if we want to understand and know the Love of God, all we need to do is to take a look at Calvary. There is no higher proof of Love known to mankind. Here is demonstrated the most striking illustration of what True Love is.
The Apostle Paul also continued this same theme of Christ laying down His life for us in Ephesians 5:2 - "...as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."
He introduced the concept of Christ giving Himself as "an offering" for us. What did this mean? It referred to the offering made without blood - a thank offering. He also mentioned that Jesus gave Himself to God as "a sacrifice." This referred to the sacrifice made by killing an animal and then burning it on an altar as an atonement for sin.
Christ - giving Himself in our stead as a thank-offering and a sin-offering - was a "sweet-smelling savor" in the nostrils of God. In other words, it was very pleasing and acceptable to Him. The reason why? Because it was done under the influence of Love for dying humanity.
But to stop here would cause the picture to be incomplete.
For in these Scriptures - 1 John 3:16 and Ephesians 5:1-2 - God revealed a message for His people through the Blood Sacrifice of His Son.
1 John 3:16 says - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
Ephesians 5:1-2 adds - "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."
For those of us who are Born Again believers and have had our sins washed away in the Blood of Jesus, God has a message from the Cross for us today.
His message is - Follow Me. Walk in love. Lay down your lives for the brethren.
We are to imitate Jesus in laying down our lives as "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." It is the "sweet-smelling savor" that arose from the fires of the burnt offering on the altar of sacrifice.
In order for our lives to be acceptable and pleasing in God's sight, we are to identify with that slain animal offered as a burnt offering and totally consumed by the fire. Our lives are to be offered in sacrifice for others. The fires of the Holy Spirit are to totally consume our hearts and souls - energizing us with a zeal that causes us to be spent so that others may either know God or be edified, strengthened, and blessed by Him.
We must count no price "too steep" or no action too difficult in order to promote the eternal well-being of another. If necessary, we must be willing to risk and hazard our lives for the Gospel's sake...pay whatever price and expose ourselves to whatever perils in order to promote the cause of Christ and free mankind from Satan's slavery...and sacrifice our time, money, energy, reputation, plans, dreams, pleasures, and amusements so that others may simply live eternally.
Calvary has a message for us today. It can be summed up in one word - self-sacrifice.
We can never truly call ourselves followers or imitators of Christ unless we are willing to do as He did; that is, to "lay down our lives for the brethren." Just as He demonstrated the Greatest Love in laying down His life for others, even so must we "walk in love" by doing the same.
Do you understand the Message that is sounding "loud and clear" from Calvary's Cross?
Are you willing to obey God and do as the Savior did?
Are you willing to become "an offering and a sacrifice to God" on behalf of others?
If so, you will then be a "sweet-smelling savor" unto God. When He sees your Labor of Love and self-sacrifice for the Gospel's sake, you will be found acceptable in His sight.
And, after all, isn't that really what we desire most of all?
May God Bless His Word.