When doing a construction project, very rarely will one use raw materials. Lumber, whether used in flooring, siding, doors, roofing, or framework, must be cut to size from a tree; glass does not occur naturally, but is produced after mixing sodium carbonate, lime, magnesium oxide, and aluminum oxide. The same principle applies to brick, cement, carpeting, roofing, and furniture. Yet when God commanded the people of Israel to build altars for their sacrifices, He made a point of their using raw materials. Why?
The answer is found in Exodus 20:24–25, which says, An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. God wanted His people to understand that when they offered anything to Him, it would not be accepted on account of their works, but because of His grace. The same is true of salvation today. We cannot offer Christ our lives for salvation (contrary to the teachings of many), be they devout and religious or wretched and defiled, for we have all polluted them by our labors (see Isaiah 64:6). Jesus already gave His life, leaving us to simply trust in His sacrificial payment for our sins.
Too many people put on their hard hats and work gloves in an effort to obtain salvation. They spend years fashioning and erecting elaborate altars where their greatest works can be offered to God. He will have none of this. The materials for an acceptable sacrifice have already been furnished — He provided them Himself. If you will put your trust in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, God will give you eternal life. That’s the raw truth — nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.
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Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.