The Pouring of Oneself As An Offering to God

A common source of illustration for New Testament writers was Jewish acts in the Old Testament.  That should not be surprising since (1) the same God is honored, (2) all of the writers in the New Testament are Jewish Christians (but one), and (3) Jewish practices/traditions were their history.

This was true of Paul, the author of the majority of the New Testament writings.  He (at least as a Christian) was a very sacrificial person.  He gladly was “spent and expended for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15).  He once wrote he could wish himself separated from Christ if it resulted in the acceptance of Christ by his unbelieving kinsmen (Romans 9:3).  He rejoiced in his suffering caused by his association with Colossian Christians (Colossians 1:24), and his affection for Christians in Thessalonica resulted in significant personal sacrifices (1Thesslonians 2:8).

Seemingly one of Paul’s favorite images of self-sacrifice was the drink offering (2 Timothy 4:6; Philippians 2:17).  A drink offering was a frequent sacrifice, but it often accompanied or was a part of other sacrifices.  It was not a replacement sacrifice (for blood, as an example). 

One of the unique things about a drink offering was that one had no control over the form it took once it was poured out.  Where it was poured determined its form.  Perhaps Paul declared (among other things) that his “form” was determined by God—and God alone!  Paul’s life before he was a Christian and after he was a Christian was radically different.  God, not Paul, determined who he was and what he did.

Who determines the “form” of your life?

David Chadwell
Dec. 26, 2011  *  Fort Smith, AR

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