The inspired text of 1 Peter 2:4-5 says, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I want to zero in on one arresting thought in this passage. Peter speaks of believer’s offering “spiritual sacrifices.”
The context speaks of believers as a “holy priesthood.” The primary function of the Old Testament priest, as they ministered in the tabernacle and later in the temple, was to offer animal sacrifices. These sacrifices were for atonement for the sins of the Old Testament people. When Jesus inaugurated the new covenant, animal sacrifices were no longer necessary. The only sacrifices remaining for the believer to offer up were spiritual sacrifices. That begs the question, what are spiritual sacrifices?
Spiritual sacrifices are “offerings” or “sacrifices” a follower of Jesus offers to the Lord. Let me share with you six acceptable spiritual sacrifices found in the New Testament.
Your Bodies - Romans 12:1-2. We are to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, which is acceptable to God. We are to crawl up on the altar and offer to our Father our complete body. As someone once said, the only problem with live sacrifices is they can crawl off the altar. Every day offer yourself to the Lord.
Your Praise - Hebrews 13:15. We are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.” Our verbal praise from a grace-filled heart is a spiritual offering unto God.
Your good works and possessions - Hebrews 13:16. Let me quote this verse, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” The believer’s good works and generous desire to share what God has given to Him is a sacrifice offered to God.
People you have led to Christ - Romans 15:15-16. This invigorating and encouraging passage speaks of Paul’s offering of Gentile believers to the Lord as an acceptable offering. People you lead to the Lord are a spiritual sacrifice to our rescuing and saving Father.
Your financial giving to the Lord’s work - Paul refers to monetary gifts that the church at Philippi sent him through Epaphroditus. These gifts are described as a “fragrant offering and a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
Your prayers - Revelation 8:3-4. In these verses the prayers of the saints are seen rising unto God. The unbelievable thought in these verses is that the incense cloud of the saints’ prayers rises into the presence of God. Your prayers, child of God, are a spiritual sacrifice offered to the Lord.
Today, my encouragement to you is to offer spiritual sacrifices to your loving, faithful, redeeming, and gracious Heavenly Father.