If you had lived in my hometown during the years of my childhood, the place to be on a Saturday morning was the Majestic or Manos Theaters. Both theaters were centerpieces of our main street, along with our Five and Dime Store, a feed store, some Mom and Pop clothing boutiques, and of course, Isalys Deli. Oh, those weekend matinees; pay your quarter, grab some snacks, settle in with a few buddies, and enjoy a two-hour vacation. Among my favorites was the old-time western, set in the later 19th Century, often centering on a nomadic cowboy hero, complete with Stetson hat, neckerchief, vest, spurs, cowboy boots, and buckskins. Then there was always that villain gunfighter, toting his revolver and evil sneer, cascading toward a complete demise. And who isn’t familiar with that famous Hollywood trope, the Wanted: Dead or Alive poster, put out by railroads, banks, and the Pinkerton Detective Agency as an incentive to catch those particularly violent, wiry criminals.
I suppose that if God were to issue a wanted poster, it may read something like this: Wanted, Dead and Alive. Scripture presents that paradox to us as Paul writes that we are to present ourselves to Christ as “a living sacrifice.” If I have gleaned one fact from reading through the Law of Moses, it is that sacrifices don’t live, they die. But that seemingly absurd, contradictory statement of dead and alive is well-founded when explained through the lens of God’s Word.
When we find new life in the cleansing blood of Christ, we are given this exhortation: “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.” Although we can never attain sinlessness here on earth, sin should no longer be our master, we should no longer be “servants of sin.” Sin will still rear its ugly head, the conflict with our flesh will sadly continue, as it did with Paul, but sin should no longer dominate us. Christ has set us free from that slavery in order to become “servants of righteousness.”
Those Old Testament’s sheep, goats, bullocks, and turtledoves had no choice in their duty as a sacrifice; they were selected, they were slaughtered. But we are called to be that “living sacrifice,” which should be our “reasonable service” in grateful response to a gracious God Who has worked the wondrous miracle of salvation in our life. I read once that the problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to crawl off the altar. Sadly, that is a true statement. Let’s be both dead and alive in our service to God!
Hebrews 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, with is your reasonable service.
Lord, help me to be that living sacrifice, serving the God of wonders with devotion and selflessness.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2850-62b942c333cb6' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2850&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2850-62b942c333cb6' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2850-62b942c333cb6' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>