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Let Your Heart Be an Altar [Awakening Faith]
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.” (Hebrews 10:5)
The Apostle says, “I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). Brothers and sisters, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice, in which he gave his body as a living offering for the life of the world.
He really made his body a living sacrifice, because though he was killed, he continues to live. In this transaction death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death is actually a birth for the martyrs, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and as their light is extinguished on earth, they are lit with brilliance in heaven.
Paul says, “I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy” (Rom. 12:1). We are each called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not cast aside what divine authority gives to you. Put on the garment of holiness, equip yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you.
Continually burn the sweet-smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.
Awakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church
by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly
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