Stop Calling Faithfulness a Sacrifice
We need to stop talking about faithfulness as sacrifice. It isn’t. It is for our own good that we obey the commands of Christ. It is in full knowledge that there is something better for us in being faithful.
We need to stop calling obedience and faithfulness to the commands of Christ “sacrifice”. There, I said it. It is not sacrifice to do what Jesus asks us to do. Full stop.
There are a bunch of reasons we need to stop this. First, we subtly convey God’s commands to be hard and burdensome. But Jesus specifically said, ‘my yoke is easy and my burden in light’ (Matthew 11:30). John tells us ‘this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The Bible insists these things are NOT hard. When we call our obedience and faithfulness a matter of sacrifice, we suggest otherwise.
Second, not only do we suggest Jesus’ commands are difficult and burdensome when he says they aren’t, but we also convey that they are not fundamentally good when we call it a sacrifice to do them. The reason Jesus commands the things he does is not because he loves bossing us about. It is because he ultimately wants our good. Indeed, his commands are good because he is good. But when we call it a sacrifice to obey, we are suggesting that we are having to give up something good for the sake of Christ.
But this simply isn’t true. When we reject sin, we are giving up something bad for us and pursuing what is specifically good for us. We are shunning the sin that would ensnare and ruin us and pursuing what Jesus says makes for human flourishing. The language of sacrifice suggests Jesus is keeping us from good stuff and we nobly give it up because we love him and he wants us not to do it. But actually, we are rejecting what will damage us and obeying Jesus because his commands keep us from what will not serve our good.