It was touted as the War to end all Wars…yet in the years since WW1 ended, millions of lives have been sacrificed in hundreds of wars fought all over the globe. It is as if humanity has never learnt the lessons that so many paid the ultimate price to teach us.
Each year on the 25th of April in Australia and New Zealand, many take a moment’s silence to remember their sacrifices–men and women who died to protect the freedoms we enjoy. All of us reading this in freedom can be grateful for those sacrifices. But how many will take a moment to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy because of the greatest sacrifice ever made. It was a sacrifice made 2000 years ago, when one man laid down his life for the deliverance of the world.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, did so, not to place us under oppression, but to deliver us from sin. It is the love of God manifested in the gift of Christ to this world by which He commends His love to us. It is as though God wanted to show just how much he loved you and me. Not wanting to hold back, He gave the greatest gift of all–the gift of his only begotten Son–to die for us. And He did so at the risk of eternal loss to Himself.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
When the apostle Paul realised the depth of that love, and surrendered to it, he understood the true purpose to life:
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15).
When God’s love touches your heart, you can’t help but live a life of self-sacrificing love in return. A life that is willing to give up all for the blessing of others bears witness to the greatest sacrifice of all. Though at times the ones we sacrifice ourselves for may reject us or show a total lack of appreciation for the things we do for them, our love will not waver. Why? Because it is grounded in the reality of a love that did not fail us–the love of Christ who gave all for us, not when we were His friends, but when we were His enemies. “To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 660).
Considering that everything we are or have today comes to us as a direct benefit of Christ’s sacrifice, why not take a moment each day to reflect on His death? And as you do, let God awaken a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving in your heart for the blessings that sacrifice brings—not only life today but the blessed assurance we can have in Christ now of eternal life hereafter.