Good morning from cold and snowy Kansas! We are getting a bit of winter weather lately, which is not my favorite thing. I know some of you love it, but give me warm and sunny days anytime! 😉
We were actually scheduled to have a basketball game last night and tonight. It is tournament week for us (you may not realize that I am an assistant high school basketball coach), so it is a CRAZY week. They cancelled our game last night and closed school today for cold temperatures. That means the games have all been rearranged and packed into tomorrow night so we can still use the college facility where we are scheduled to play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It is the first time I have ever been disappointed to get a “snow day.” Teachers everywhere are saying, “What?!??!?” right about now. 😉 What can I say? I like keeping my schedule. And I like for my Wednesday nights to be left alone! 🙁
Enough about all that. I wanted to share some thoughts from my morning Bible study time.
I have been reading through Romans 12 the last couple of days. I know the first two verses are familiar to most of us (and some of my favorites).
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
The notes I have in my Bible led me to examine the offerings of Cain and Abel. I’ll admit that there was a time when I just couldn’t make sense of this story. I remember thinking that “…Cain was a tiller of the ground. (Gen. 4:2)” and didn’t really understand why the Lord reacted as He did when “…Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering… (Gen. 4:3).” It was what he had. He worked for it. It was an offering unto the Lord after all!
Over the years I have, of course, learned why this offering was not an acceptable sacrifice. The offering was to be a sin offering and we know that required a blood sacrifice (Gen. 3:21). Why a blood sacrifice? It was an acknowledgement that sin deserved death and could only be covered by a spotless sacrifice (Heb. 9:22). In the Old Testament this sacrifice was required over and over again because no one was capable of keeping the law and living a sinless life. I’m so thankful that for me, it was Jesus’s blood on the Cross of Calvary and it was “…once for all. (Heb. 4:10)”. His ultimate sacrifice was enough for my sin–and for yours! He was enough!
Anyway, as I read through the story of the offerings of Cain and Abel again, I considered the phrase acceptable sacrifice. We could think of Cain’s offering as the “good works” he had to give the Lord. I wondered what kinds of things I might be “offering” to the Lord in a similar way that Cain had. Now don’t misunderstand where I am headed with this…we should be doing good works. We should be trying to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
However, we should not be relying on those good works to gain favor with the Lord. We should not think those good works make us “better” than anyone else. We should not believe that those good works are enough.
The Lord wants us–not just our good works. He wants us to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him.
Hmmm… I’ve got some more thinking and praying to do.
Maybe you do too?