Recently I have been thinking about the concept of debt and sacrifice. Our economy relies on debt, its trade, and requiring interest. In the Bible, from Genesis and the fall of Adam and Eve, to Revelation with return of Christ and his Judgement, the debt of sin is clear; "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6 verse 23). Much of our lives are driven by debt, both monetary and spiritual.
Our culture also has several important days celebrating the importance of sacrifice, such as ANZAC day, Remembrance Day and of course Easter. The Jews of the Old Testament understood sacrifice very well, as they were required to sacrifice food and goods at the Temple. Today I believe that something that has been lost in our lives in the loss of the everyday awareness of the need for sacrifice. Whether this is sacrificing our time, money, or even our own lives for the sake of others. The need of sacrifice permeates Christianity but is so often ignored 'by Christians and non-Christians alike'.
This can be a problem, especially with how people perceive cost that they don't have to directly or immediately pay themselves. Problems such as climate change and pollution spring to mind as large issues in which your actions cost you nothing but may potentially cost future other unknown persons a great deal. In the end somebody is going to pay, unless a sacrifice is made. Without sacrifice there may be a cost that nobody can afford.
This is the case with sin. It is relatively easy not to be aware of the cost of sin, it is not visible, the cost is delayed, but it is also infinite. More importantly it has a price that we cannot pay, because we do not have what is required to pay it.
Sin results in the loss of righteousness and perfection in the sight of God, as demonstrated by the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Although works can demonstrate righteousness, works without faith is empty (James 2 verses 14 - 25). This is because righteousness is not something that can be regained by our works alone. The debt must be paid, and that debt is death.
The reason that Jesus is called the sacrificial Lamb (John 1 verse 29) is that only he is innocent and truly righteous. The slaughter of animals could never pay for our sins (Hebrews 10 verse 4), but was a constant reminder that a debt needed to be paid. The slaughter of animals in the Temple served as a sacrificial reminder for our sins the price of our sins. Jesus' death served as a complete payment for our sins, for only He could be the complete sacrifice who could pay the full price to atone for our evil.
It is my hope that I can live my life in context of the immense love that Jesus has shown for me. I wish for my life to be filled with the remembrance of his death, and that I will be inspired to sacrifice for others in the way Christ has done for me. "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4 verse 19)
Nathanael Yates from Perth, Western Australia, is an award winning young scientist completing a PhD in the neurobiology of schizophrenia
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html