As New Testament believers who also happen to be of the “free grace” persuasion (I hate having to describe myself using an oxymoron), we might tend to undervalue the truths that apply to us as His kids. He did save us by grace, but He expects us to live in a way that brings glory to Him not just for our own pleasure. Along with that we see, from one of the very first stories in the OT to one of that last stories in the OT, that He is concerned that we bring Him our best.
Consider Cain. It’s a favored interpretation of modern scholars to say that God rejected Cain’s sacrifice and accepted Abel’s because Cain’s was bloodless; but we only see that because of Leviticus which hadn’t been written yet. The text, aided by the Hebrews 11 interpretation, would seem to indicate that Able gave his best and Cain simply gave…. something.
Jump to the Priests of Malachi’s day (Malachi 1:6-14) – God says of the blind lamb they lay on the altar, “Why not offer it to your governor?” Again, God is displeased with our second best in worship.
Permit me one last example. In 1 Corinthians 11, we read that when the church gathered for the Lord’s Supper they went about it in the wrong way. Instead of sharing a meal, those who brought the food and wine early ate and drank their fill, and those who came late (presumably the poorer day-workers in the body) went hungry. For that offense God did indeed discipline most severely.
What’s my point? He wants my best! Not my second best. Not my left overs! Not my afterthought! My VERY BEST! After all, He gave me His very life!
(The idea for this piece came from discussion in Discipleship 101 this past Sunday morning – I hope if you aren’t already involved in a class, you’ll consider coming to ours!)