True Sacrifice

The psalmist had a clear understanding of what true sacrifice meant when he wrote: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." From the beginning of time, mankind, in the realization of their sins against God, have recognized that in some way the sense of separation from God—brought about by these sins—must be overcome, and they have always glimpsed the fact that this could only be done by some form of sacrifice on their part; or in other words, by their giving up something, although they did not know exactly what that something might be.

In the earliest days of Bible history men began this process by bringing to God all sorts of material offerings, and these offerings were supposed to be acceptable in the ratio of the value to the givers of the things relinquished by them. This custom continued for many ages; but because the effort began in the supposed value of material possessions, as time went on the claims of selfishness and greed, of hypocrisy and dishonesty in connection with such giving, continually increased. These offerings, therefore, became farther and farther removed from true sacrifice and were an offense rather than a right acknowledgment of obligation to God,—as witness the testimony of Isaiah: "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me...Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well."

Among the Churches
December 27, 1919

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