Continuing on the topic of image and likeness from previously, a sacrifice on the alter is not enough! On Mt. Sinai God prescribed to Moses and through him, to all of his people Israel, in great detail exactly how to make sacrifices so that they could be a people of God and come close to Him.
At times in their history, usually after God had saved them from great calamity, they carried out his orders in reference and awe. They went through the motions which He had prescribed, with humble hearts of worship, gratitude, and submission.
However, during most of their history, this people of Israel (the people of God) would not have hearts like this. At times, they would totally ignore His commands. At other times, they would go through the motions which He had prescribed, but would do so with cold hearts. Some felt that if they just carried out the words He had written, they could then spend most of their life doing whatever they wanted without having to worry about God’s wrath. Others used the might of this established orthodox religion for their own benefit and so gave the appearance of being very holy, but in reality were using God’s words for their own benefit.
Again and again, God would send His prophets to scream out to the people, “God doesn’t want your sacrifices! It’s not enough! Repent, and come back to God with a pure heart.”
On occasion, the people would listen! When this happened, they would repent in mass and would change their hearts and their ways and be blessed in the Lord.
Usually though, they would ignore the warnings of God’s prophets and go about their lives. “Why should they believe the crazy man screaming?” Of course, we know by looking back at history that the Lord would then bring about great calamity so that his people would be cleansed of the evil in their hearts and turn back to Him. Some would be cut off from “His people”, some would be sperated from His people through death in the great calamity, others would repent and turn away from their evil desires and ways and accept the way of life that He was calling them to. Then they would realize how blessed they were to have such an amazing God who saved them from this calamity!
Today, people feel that Jesus is their sacrifice so they are free to live life however they want. The thinking is that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the ultimate price so that now we don’t have to. We get to live our lives however we want as long as we believe that what Jesus did back then was for us. It’s a great story and feels really good to the flesh! But it is not the Truth.
Today, God is saying, “Repent. Your acceptance of the sacrifice that Jesus gave by laying His life on the alter is not enough for you to receive the life I have for you! Come live the full Kingdom life!”
He wants us to step into the fullness of the life He intends for us. He wants us to be purely His and not a mixture of His and of this world. He has a much bigger plan for us than we are realizing in our lives so far. He will bring about His purposes in Man! The difference here is that Jesus is more than just the sacrifice, He is also the Way and the Life that we are to step into. We are to follow Him. Our lives are to be living sacrifices to the holy God. (Romans 12:1) Although this may sound gruesome, it is a big key to bearing the likeness of God. He wants us to be like Him. Being taught directly by Him, and able to rule His Creation for Him, teaching all beings who God truly is because we, as sons, represent the Father.
This is the first in a series of posts about Bearing the Image and likeness of God. We just held a live symposium in Austin, TX on this subject and you will be sent a link to this video when it has been edited if you receive our newsletter. You can do that by signing up here. You can view the introduction to this event here.
This is Part 1 in the series Bearing the Image and Likeness of God. To continue with this series, please read Pt 2.
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