The Sacrifice of Christ
Ephesians 5:2
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us…

I. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WAS VOLUNTARY. He gave himself. He said he had power - right as well as ability - to lay down his life (John 10:18). Had the sacrifice of Christ not been the free giving of himself, it would have been like the human sacrifices of the heathen - a fearful deed in those who slew him and of no import to any one else. The essence of the sacrifice, all that gave to it propitiatory efficacy, was the willingness of the Sufferer who offered himself. God is not pleased with pain and death. What he is pleased with is the devotion, fidelity, and love that endure pain and death in the fulfillment of an unselfish and noble mission.

II. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WAS OFFERED TO GOD. Christ was not simply a Martyr to truth, nor only a Sufferer in the cause of humanity. The cup that he drank was given to him by his Father. His persistence through mortal agony was in submission to the will of God. Gethsemane interprets Calvary. It reveals an essential element of the sacrifice of Christ that has been too much neglected in our theologies - the obedience of Christ. St. Paul saw tints when he said that Christ became "obedient unto death." Thus the cross was an altar and the crucifixion an offering to God.

III. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WAS WELL-PLEASING TO GOD. In primite language it is said that when the smoke of Noah's sacrifice went up to heaven "God smelled a sweet savor" - literally, "a savor of satisfaction," i.e. it was acceptable to God. So Christ's sacrifice is described as "an odor of a sweet smell." Such an act of fidelity to God and love to man could not but be pleasing to God. Thus the sacrifice becomes a propitiation; it becomes the means through which God looks favorably on those for whom it is offered.

IV. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WAS MADE ON OUR BEHALF. "For us." Men had often offered sacrifices for themselves - to express their own devotion and to expiate their own sins. It is customary now for people to talk of making a present sacrifice in order to secure a future advantage. But Christ's sacrifice was not for his own interests. It was the Shepherd giving his life for the sheep, the Friend laying down his life for his friends. His was the pain, ours is the gain; his the cross of death, ours the crown of life.

V. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WAS OCCASIONED BY HIS LOVE TO US. "Christ also loved you." There was no necessity that Christ should die. Ordinary duty would not have required the sacrifice, for, though fidelity and obedience entered into it, these elements were consequent on the free undertaking of a work of love by Christ. Christ as a man was possessed of a great love of his kind that constrained him to die for the world; Christ as the Son of God and "the very image of his substance" (Hebrews 1:3) died because he was full of the love of the Father for his lost children.


1. In return for His love. Love should inspire love. If it does we shall show our love to Christ by loving our brethren.

2. In breathing his Spirit. Christianity is not merely appropriating the fruits of the work of Christ. It is following in his footsteps. Christians are called to be imitators of God, especially as he is manifested in Christ. An imitation of God must therefore consist chiefly in an exercise of love like that of Christ. tits love to us led him to submit to crucifixion. He asks us simply to walk in love. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

WEB: Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

The Sacrifice of Christ
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