True Meaning of Sacrifice + 18 Bible Verses About Sacrifice


As we go into this season of contemplating Jesus’ death, many Christians begin to meditate on the meaning of sacrifice. They search for Bible verses about sacrifice, read the resurrection story and try to understand what it means to offer sacrifices to God.

It’s a lofty goal. Sacrifice is a big part of the salvation story and the Bible has a lot to say about sacrifices and how we should offer it.

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Bible Verses About Sacrifice

Leviticus may not be your favorite book in the Bible, but God has devoted an entire book explaining to His people what was expected. In fact, the children of Israel were camped out in the wilderness for about a year as they learned about the sacrifices they were expected to make and the other things they needed to do if they were to please God.

Since the beginning of time, God has required a sacrifice from His people. He asked Adam and Eve for the sacrifice of obedience. Later, when they sinned, He required a physical offering even as He still asked them to be obedient.

But biblical sacrifice did not end in the Old Testament. The New Testament is rife with sacrifice—not only what is expected of God’s people but also the sacrifice God made on humanity’s behalf. Let’s explore a few of those Bible verses about sacrifice:

Bible verses about the sacrifice God made for humanity

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV).

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:12-14 ESV).

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 ESV).

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2 ESV

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV).

Bible verses about sacrifice expected from God’s people

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Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name (Hebrews 13:15 ESV).

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20 ESV).

And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22 ESV).

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:16-17 ESV).

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2 ESV).

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV).

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV).

Bible verses about sacrifice for others

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:16 ESV).

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4 ESV).

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:16-18 ESV

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves (Romans 15:1 ESV).

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8 ESV).

What is a Biblical Sacrifice?

As Christians, we struggle with the concept of biblical sacrifice. We understand that Christ’s death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice and that we ought to live our lives in a way that emulates His. But when it comes to actual sacrifice, we struggle with what it looks like or what it means for our lives.

Sacrifice is the giving up of something for someone else or for another purpose. Many of us understand or have seen this type of sacrifice played out in our lives, whether it is in a parent-child relationship, or the giving up of something for a friend or person we care about. But before we can sacrifice anything for anyone, we have to understand the biblical meaning of sacrifice.

The History of Biblical Sacrifice

As Christians, we know that the sacrificial system was introduced after sin. A perfect lamb–or another animal–was sacrificed in place of the person who was guilty. This mimicked the perfect sacrifice of Christ dying on behalf of humanity. 

The first sacrifice happened off-page. When Adam and Eve sinned, one of the first things they did was try to make clothing for themselves.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves (Genesis 3:7 NIV).

But God knew they needed something better. He knew fig leaves would not cover them for any length of time, nor would it protect them from the elements of weather. But more importantly, He knew that because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), something had to die in their place.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them (Genesis 3:21 NIV). 

While we don’t have the details of that inaugural sacrifice, I like to think God initiated it. I like to think He killed the first two animals and offered them as a sacrifice in place of Adam and Eve.

He did it because He wanted Adam and Eve to understand that while He was offering them grace by allowing them to live, something had to die because they had transgressed the law of God. They also had to be taught what to do because until that moment there had been no need for anything to die.

There are many stories of sacrifice in the Bible, from the tale of Cain and Abel to that of Abraham and Isaac, to the ultimate sacrifice of an innocent Christ dying for all humanity. The sacrifice Christ made on our behalf is the reason we are allowed to live, and minister, and work. Maybe that’s why I picked up on the subtle theme of sacrifice in the book Collision of Lies.

The sacrifice Christ made on our behalf is the reason we are allowed to live, and minister, and work. #hebrews12endurance Share on X

It’s because the idea of sacrifice is still an intrinsic part of our Christian lives. God wants us to be living sacrifices. A biblical sacrifice is one that pleases God. It is sacrifice that chooses what’s best for the greater good–the advancement of the kingdom and God’s purpose rather than our own. It is life lived in conjunction with God’s will.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1 NIV

Our lives matter to God and we should live as if they do. We should learn to put other people ahead of ourselves while keeping God at the first place in our lives.

Collision of Lies Review

The story started with an argument but what may have appeared as a domestic dispute was actually a symptom of something deeper, more sinister.

The story moved at a good pace and kept you engrossed in learning the details of the case. I did find that when the characters’ conversations were about anything other than the case, they were stilted and unrealistic. It was also difficult to see the lead detective Amara Alvarez as a fully rounded character as she didn’t seem to have a life outside of the cases she worked on. The author tried but I found his efforts stilted at best and forced at worse.

When the case started falling apart, I expected more explanations or at least a sense that things were being wrapped up. Instead, I was left with many unanswered questions that were not addressed in the epilogue.

The reason behind the lies seemed a bit too complex especially for an average reader to understand and was never fully explained. The reader is left with the theory that the police came up with and a brief “oh yes, that was it”, but it never provides the answer from the perspective of the perpetrators.

Know God: There were no faith elements in this book and only one mention of prayer and it was in a “let-this-work-out-okay” kind of way instead of an “I’m-believing-God-for-this-to-happen” way. Yet, upon finishing the book I realized that this was a book about sacrifice. There were several characters who sacrificed themselves for the greater good.

I was reminded of the importance of biblical sacrifice. While we’re not asked to make animal sacrifices anymore, biblical sacrifice may mean giving up something for someone else. Biblical sacrifice may mean choosing to put someone else’s needs above your own. There will come a time in every person’s life when they will need to make a choice. What will you choose?

Know Yourself: When we first met Amara Alvarez, she was a Property Crimes detective who desperately wanted a transfer to the Homicide department. While we never really get the reason for her desire, we see her actively pursuing it by spending time with the Homicide detectives trying to learn more about the ins and outs of the division.

Like Amara, it’s important for us to know what we want and take active steps in pursuing our dreams. Unlike Amara, we need to spend time in the Word and with God trying to figure out his plan and purpose for our lives.

Run your race: What I liked about the character was her determination to walk the path set before her. Even when she knew things would get difficult she resolutely did the task at hand and did what she needed to do.

It was an intriguing story. What happens when everything you know about something is a lie? Do you continue to behave as if you hadn’t been given clues that what you believed was a lie? Or do you pursue the truth at whatever the cost?

Collision of Lies was about sacrifice and about what you would do if someone you loved was in danger or trouble. It was about self-preservation and what people would do when people’s backs were against the wall. It was about selfishness and greed and what people would do to satisfy their own desires.

About Collision of Lies

Collision of Lies

The case was tragic. But it was an accident. Right?

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she’s correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others–and herself–that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy is alive. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story. Purchase your copy of Collision of Lies on Amazon.

About Tom Threadgill

Tom Threadgill is a full-time author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). He is currently on the suspense/thriller publishing board for LPC Books, a division of Iron Stream Media.

He lives with his wife in rural Tennessee.

Tom Threadgill

The Importance of Sacrifice to God

Let’s face it, in the relationship between us and God, we’re the more needy ones. We are dependent on Him for everything down to the very air we inhale and our ability to breathe it in…Why do we need to make sacrifices to God? Our sacrifices have nothing to do with who we are and everything to do with who He is. Sacrifice is important to God because of what we mean to Him.

We make sacrifices to remind ourselves that in God’s eyes we’re just dust. But we’re just that He loves. People whom He gave His life for and if He, creator of the universe and everything in it is willing to make a sacrifice on our behalf, why should we begrudge Him the same?

I hope these Bible verses about sacrifice, as well as, a look at biblical sacrifice will help you to truly appreciate the work Christ did for you on the cross.

You may also like:

The True Meaning of the Cross of Jesus
Why You Should Choose Obedience Not Sacrifice
Why Is The Old Testament Important For Christians

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