Therefore I urge you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 1:21
There is a place of exchange whereby we give away the cares of this world and pick up the call of heaven. There is a place where Christ the King took up all our sins and infirmities in exchange for our yielded hearts. There is an altar of death that works both ways. Jesus died so we could live, therefore, we die so He can live. "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. Gal 2:20 NKJV
When we die to ourselves we illuminate the world with love, the love of Jesus who died for all who would receive Him. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Mat 5:14
An altar is a place of sacrifice; the cross of Christ is the final altar and there is no need for any other. When we go to the altar, that is the cross, we have to make an exchange; our life for His.
After Jesus told the disciples that He would have to suffer many things He then said to them, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? Luke 9:23-25
We see a pattern throughout the Scriptures pointing to death in order to live. From the time Jesus Christ took His last breath on the cross on Calvary, death in order to live began. This is a very hard concept for a person to understand with the natural mind because it is spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 1Co 2:14
When a person decides to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior there are two roles that Jesus should take on in their lives. The first role for many believers is as Savior; sadly, this is as far as many go. Jesus should become the answer for our ability to give up sin but far too often people use the grace of God to remain in their sin. When a person stops the work of the cross at salvation it allows them a sense of false comfort in that they are unique because they will inherit heaven. Of course, this is false because it is contrary to the Scriptures for sin is not of God it is of the devil. The Scriptures say that those who say they know God will quit sinning.
6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor [is] he who does not love his brother. 1Jo 3:6-10
If we receive the message of the cross with an emotional response and not a spiritual one we will not maintain a life in Christ. Emotional responses to anything only last a short while because they are based on feelings and not faith. The Bible tells us that we must confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9). Feeling excites passion for something, unfortunately, passion tends to wane.
The second role of Jesus should be as Lord, Master. This is the role that Christ should take on in our lives whereby we recognize that our ways have amounted to nothing and we need to die so He can live. Die means to come to an end and to cease. When we give way to Jesus as Lord His ways dominate our lives and our own fleshly desires no longer are the first concern in our thoughts. This is not easy for anyone, except the repentant sinner that has discovered the wretchedness of their own sinful nature.
There are two practices, the practice of sin and the practice of righteousness. Jesus said when speaking of His return that the righteous and unrighteous; the tares and wheat, will be separated.
41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Mat 13:41-43
Those of God are to submit themselves to the practice of righteousness. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 1Jo 3:7
Going to the altar of the cross is a representation of death, in which we partake. If Christ lives in us and we in Him we will begin to peel off the layers of the world and its contaminates. We will begin to turn our hearts towards the things of God. Sometimes this turning away happens rapidly and other times it may take longer. This depends on the approach we take to receive the Lord. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Gal 5:24
Holy Father in Heaven, thank You for the grace and mercy given me to live a life worthy of the death of Jesus Christ. Today I recommit my life to You in response to the Cross of mercy. Today I determine in my heart to live as Christ and die to self, but I can only do this with the power of Your Spirit. I confess that I have not always sought after the things of You and so I ask for Your help to crucify the affections and lust of my flesh that I might be a holy vessel useful for the work of the kingdom. Allow me the honor and pleasure of serving a Holy God with a life dead to self so that I might bring glory to You. In Jesus name, Amen.