An Altared Life

Often when reading the Old Testament, there is a lot that doesn’t make sense to our modern mindsets. We read about genealogies, and ritualistic laws and wonder what they have to do with our salvation in Christ. It’s easy to gloss over them; to think that the fact that we live under the New Covenant means that the old one doesn’t matter. However, we do this at our peril because the New Covenant is often explained and articulated in light of the old covenant’s terms and traditions.

One such thing that may catch us off guard as we read the books of the laws and prophets is the number and frequency of the sacrificies that were made. The regular reminder of the Israelites’ sins and the atonenment that would be provided through their (and our) Messiah may now seem inconsequential. What was future looking for them, is now done and accomplished for us.  However, as with many things, Scripture uses this old convenant imagery to help us understand how we should live in light of the ultimate sacrifice that our Savior madeRomans 12:1 says that we should “offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice.” Throughout his epistles, Paul writes that he is being “poured out like a drink offering.” (Phil. 2:172 Tim. 4:6)  In other words, because of the ultimate sacrifice, our lives are now offered to God, we are dead to ourselves, just like the animals that were set abalze.

However, we need to remember that the place that the animals were offered, the altar, had another purpose as well. The altar was not only the place where sacrifices were made, but they were the reminder of God’s faithfulness and provisions. They were testaments to the work that God had done and the places that He had brought His people from. Simiarily, our lives should be ablaze with the evidence of what God has done in them. When people look at us they should see the changes that could only come through the refining fire of His hands. We should be a light to the world, not only in delivering the Good News, but in glorifying God through our lives.  Just like the altars of old, our lives should put God on display.

May we do so. May our lives not just be a living sacrifice, but may they may a testament to the great God Who we serve.


  1. That’s such a powerful realization…to recognize that we are dead to ourselves and accept that our lives are not ours. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in self and forget that truth, but He didn’t suggest being a light to Him. It’s our duty! Thanks for the reminder Dr. W!

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