"A living sacrifice"

St. Paul's admonition, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," recalls the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish church, which consisted largely of the sacrifice of animals for the sins of the people. This was doubtless a step away from the belief that sin can be recklessly indulged, in that it demanded a penalty from the wrong-doer; but at best it was only a temporary expedient, for we read in the seventh chapter of Jeremiah that God did not command the Israelites to offer "burnt offerings or sacrifices," but rather to obey His voice,—the voice which has never been silent throughout the ages, but which speaks to man, woman, and child, to all who are ready to listen and obey. Isaiah tells us that God delights not in the blood of slain animals, while the psalmist says that the sacrifices of God are "a broken and a contrite heart;" and he adds that God is "pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness," which doubtless means that one must give up all that would hinder him from reflecting the absolute "justice and judgment" of God.

As we ponder Paul's counsel we may remember that the sacrifices offered under the Mosaic law were to be perfect, but in Malachi we read, "Ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick." Now the offering which we are to bring when we hear the call of Truth is not any dead thing, for our God "is not a God of the dead, but of the living," and our sacrifice, as presented in the text quoted, is inseparable from service. St. Paul was addressing those who, like many of the present day, devoted almost every thought to the service of the body,—to feed, clothe, and adorn it while in health, or to cure it when diseased. They were "conformed to this world" in all their thought of themselves, but the apostle told them, as he tells us today, to be "transformed" by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove for ourselves how good the will of God is to usward.

Time was when many good people thought they could offer to God sick and sad sacrifices, but this would not meet the divine requirement, and Christian Science has come to tell us how we may meet it in the way Christ Jesus taught. On page 162 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, "Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies." Then it is no longer a sick body which is brought to the altar of Truth, but the human mind and body controlled by Truth and Love, and thus fitted for divine service. The psalmist gives us a fine view of the transformation needed to prepare us for this service, when he tells us of thought so uplifted that the one desire is to "dwell in the house of the Lord" continually, "to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." Then he tells of being lifted up above his enemies, which to the Christian Scientist would mean above all the beliefs of sin, disease, and death, and the sacrifices then offered are "sacrifices of joy."

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The Peace of Good
June 12, 1915

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