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The first sacrifice
- Jacob Ninan
The most popular Christian activity nowadays seems to be "praise and worship," and even unconverted people enjoy it for its "soul stirring" experience. One of the common exhortations preachers give in this connection is to make the sacrifice of praise to God with our lips (He.13:15). It is certainly right and good that we learn to give importance to worshipping God in contrast to being occupied with ourselves. However there is a sacrifice that should come before this, which is really the first sacrifice that we should go to God with.
I am referring to the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart (Ps.51:17). This is the one we have to offer to God when we meet Him for the first time. At that point in time, we relate to Him as sinners standing before a holy God, with nothing in our hands to earn His favour. "Sin," "sinner," etc. have become unpleasant words for many people and politically incorrect to mention. But the fact is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that there is no way we can find acceptance with Him if we go to Him as righteous or good people (1Ti.1:15;Mt.9:13).
If we don't go to Jesus first of all with the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart, repentant and sorry over our sins, we cannot receive from Him the cleansing that His blood can give. He wants to wash away all our sins, and make our hearts white like snow (Is.1:18). But He cannot do it if we go to Him as "I am OK" people.
Can we end with having to deal with sin once we have received a cleansing from Jesus? Unfortunately not, because we all have a tendency to fall into sin again. We fall, either by doing things we shouldn't do or by not doing things we should do, all our life. If we are sensitive in our heart, we will always have need to carry this sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit to God as we approach Him.
A godly sorrow over our sins and our sinfulness will help us to be careful about sinning and give us a strong desire to be more pleasing to the Lord (2Co.7:10,11). This will also help us to have a more humble attitude towards others when we see their faults. And, this will also make our praise and worship more meaningful.