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The Sacrificial Life

The Christian life is a sacrificial life. No, it is not a dreary life of hair shirts and gloomy monasteries, for joyful praise is a part of this sacrificial life:


By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Hebrews 13:15


There are also other aspects to this sacrificial life. Jesus says plainly that no one can be his disciple unless they forsake all that they have. This does not necessarily mean that a disciple must sell all their possessions, but it does mean that they must count everything (including their own life) as expendable for the cause of Christ.


So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33


This sacrificial life involves separation not only from immorality and worldliness but also from ritualistic religion. Christ fulfilled the ritualistic sacrifices of the Old Testament by his one-for-all sacrifice of himself…


But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Hebrews 10:12


…and for this reason, Jewish Christians had to leave the old altar for the new one:


We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Hebrews 13:10-14


Going to Christ without the camp means to go where Christ is (which is not where most of what is called Christianity is). When we obey him in this, we will “bear his reproach” but when viewed through the eyes of faith, even this is a blessing:


If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

I Peter 4:14


I Have Decided to Follow Jesus


I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

No turning back, no turning back.


Though I may wonder, I still will follow;

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;

No turning back, no turning back.


The world behind me, the cross before me;

The world behind me, the cross before me;

The world behind me, the cross before me;

No turning back, no turning back.


Though none go with me, still I will follow;

Though none go with me, still I will follow;

Though none go with me, still I will follow;

No turning back, no turning back.


Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

No turning back, no turning back.


The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in Assam, north-east India, who along with his family decided to follow Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, "I have decided to follow Jesus." In response to threats to his family, he continued, "Though no one joins me, still I will follow." His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, "The cross before me, the world behind me." This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village.

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