"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Law of Sacrifice & Sacrificial Love

The law of sacrifice runs through life, from the lowest to the very highest. In any realm of life those who save others cannot always save themselves from trouble, sorrow, yes, sometimes even death.

The seed gives itself and dies in order to produce a harvest.

The mother bird throws herself into the jaws of the serpent in order to save her young.

The human mother goes down into the valley of death to bring a child into the world.

The young patriot, with all his life before him, takes his one life into his hands and marches out against the bayonets of the enemy, in order to save home and country . . .

Now if this is a universal law -- and it seems to be -- then when we come to God, the highest Being, we would expect to find in Him the greatest and noblest expression of sacrificial love in the whole universe. Otherwise the creature would be greater than the Creator. A worm would be greater, a bird, an animal; they give themselves, but not God. It is unthinkable that God would write a law of saving by sacrifice throughout the universe and be empty of it himself . . .

But the cross shows that there is such a God.

-- John Seamands quote on pg. 72 in
Daughters of Islam by Miriam Adeney


Sarah said...

Wow - that is a really interesting point.
I'll have to mull over that for a bit!

Achelois said...

That is a very interesting argument indeed. Certainly a strong case for religions in which God is perceived as the loving Parent who would certainly sacrifice.

I have always felt that Jesus sacrificed himself for God and that is why in my view he is above ALL creatures - animals, human beings, everyone.

I feel that he wasn't given divine qualities for nothing. He deeply acknowledged his gift - the gift to heal and give life; forgive sins and be the Word of God. And hence he repaid for that gift by willingly become the Lamb of God.

I find it confusing to accept that God sacrificed, though. Confusing because He knows the past, present and the future and if He knows everything then it was His Design to include sacrifice in it. That certainly puts Jesus in a less than sublime position because it shows Jesus too knew what he had to do and he didn't do it willingly, whereas in my view at least Jesus' high position is because he willingly died at the Cross. However, according to the Bible he did know he was going to die soon so that is something that further confuses me and I can't come to a conclusion.

The other thing is that sacrifice is important for mortals who would potentially lose their lives and hence sacrifice becomes so important. But God is immortal and if Jesus was God then he was immortal and hence sacrifice is meaningless if he never lost his life like humans do. Surely he stopped living on earth but then our belief is that he is still alive in heaven because he is the immortal God.

Another point is that if Jesus is God and is part of God then he should now be the one God after sacrificing himself on earth. But he exists as a separate Person on the right hand side of God the Father, so clearly he is a different Person and a different Being. In that case, sacrifice is meaningful but then we also sacrifice the Unity of God and there is no monotheism.

I'm confused. You can tell :)

Anonymous said...

Achelois ??

You just confused ME?! :)
I had to read it twice..BUT..it was VERY INTERESTING what you had to say. I will have to think alot about this-in fact the whole post hmmm...
Thank you for jump starting my brain tonight. I've been a bit lethargic, uninspired, running on empty -and in circles with dirty diapers, dirty boys and dirty dishes-I needed this :)


Susanne said...

WWR, yeah, it was definitely a quote from this book that took my attention. :)

Achelois, thanks for sharing all that. It was great! :)

I think Jesus co-existed with the Father from eternity. The Father, Spirit and Son had a relationship together as One God. (Yeah, it seems weird from a human logical side, I know.) When Jesus came to earth in his human role, he willingly took upon the form of his creation. And, yes, his purpose was to sacrifice himself and take the sin of the world upon himself.

You said if Jesus knew this before time it wasn't so great, but I think differently. God did NOT have to redeem us, and, yes, even though He is omniscient and knew He would, it doesn't detract from the fact that He indeed - as the Bible puts it - "became sin for us."

For a pure, holy, righteous, perfect God to take human filth (sin) upon Himself -- that's worse than a Muslim eating pork and drinking a fifth of liquor! - is incredible!

So I don't think Jesus' willingness to leave the glories of heaven to get involved in our mess and take our mess upon himself is a small thing. (If we think this, we have too small a view of the awfulness of our sin in God's eyes.)

He had perfect relationship with the Father, yet he came to live among us. He came to dwell among his creation as the Lamb who would take our sins upon his pure and holy self.

And it's no less great because he knew he would rise again. It just shows that sin has no power over God. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and paid the price (death), but the resurrection shows even our filthy sins have no power over God's ability to redeem us and make us live again (eternally.)

As for Jesus' words about letting this bitter cup pass from me. (Um, don't you think if the Christians or Paul changed the New Testament, they would have taken out these potentially "problematic" passages to help us out? :-)) People sometimes say this shows he didn't die willingly. I don't think so. He knew this was his role, his mission, his REASON for coming to earth. However, remember Jesus took upon himself the likeness of man and his fleshly side didn't want to lose this perfect fellowship with the Father. I think this shows he KNEW. He KNEW how awful our sins were and He KNEW it was going to separate him (even if briefly) from this perfect fellowship he had always (since eternity past) enjoyed with His Father. And he was saddened because of that. Wow, that shows how much Jesus values fellowship with the Father. Another good example for us to follow?

I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Shelly, thanks for your reply. If you have anything more to add now that your brain is jump-started (ha!), please feel free to do so. :)