Kingdom Inheritance Today - The Kingdom of God Today
In the world sacrificing takes place every day and in many different ways usually in the form of forfeiting something for the benefit of another person or persons. Sometimes it's a particularly crucial sacrifice like giving a kidney.
But the ultimate sacrifice to Believers is "... Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God," Ephesians 5'2. And Jesus uses His own sacrifice to describe to His Kingdom Saints the essence of Kingdom sacrificing:
“... whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” Matthew 24'27-28.
The apostle Paul thought of himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ (Romans 1'1). The realisation of what Jesus had done for him changed His life, so much that he said:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me," Galatians 2'20.
But it was his response when he was initially confronted by Jesus that was crucial. He said: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9'6). The result was that he lived differently. Added to that he became the foremost apostle. However he didn't desire to be first. He just wanted to the Lord's will. And he would have known that, from the way he had treated the people of The Way, sacrifices would lie ahead. At this stage, though, he finds himself in Damascus definitely not doing what he had originally set out to do. Instead he is blind and hasn't eaten or drank for three days.
Except that Saul, as Paul was called then, could only wait for a man named Ananias, who Jesus had shown him in a vision, "... coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight”. And now the foundation of his new life began when Jesus spoke to ...
"... Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, 'Ananias.' And he said, 'Here I am, Lord.'
So the Lord said to him, 'Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.' ...
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'
Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was immersed," Acts 9'10-18.
And the first act of Paul's new life of doing what Jesus wanted him to do was to copy Him and be immersed in water, thus identifying with Him in His death and resurrection.
Later he would exhort all Believers to: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11'1). And "... join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern" (Philippians 3'17).
In his letter to the Roman Believers (12'1-2) Paul exhorted them:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God," Romans 12'1.
The act of presenting to God comes out of a way of thinking. So he makes this exhortation in the light of the understandings that being immersed portray. That is, it happens once and the whole person, spiritual, soul and body, is presented. Spiritual death and spiritual resurrection take place in the immersing and the lifting up out of the water. And those understandings form the basis for renewing of your mind.
Leading up to this point Paul had already compared the thinking behind the old presenting and the new presenting. He said:
"... do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God, Romans 6'13.
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" Romans 6'16.
"I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness," Romans 6'19.
Those words remind Believers about presenting their bodies to their heavenly Father and being slaves of righteousness. But that's New Covenant Kingdom living - that Jesus lived. Within that daily lifestyle lies "that good and acceptable and perfect will of God".
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased," Hebrews 13'15,16.