Sacrifice During The New Testament Era

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“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10.) This passage signifies a dramatic transformation of the narrative and role of sacrifice in the early Christian context. There is much discussion among theorists such as Heyman of the spiritualization of sacrifice during the New Testament era as the combination of decline of animal sacrifice and the rhetoric of a living sacrifice led to sacrifice becoming less associated with direct physical product, such as burnt and blood offerings. Although there are very evidentiary reasons for this…show more content…
It may safely be assumed that the general conclusion of Christ’s expiation of mankind is similarly as spiritual as the sacrifices of the Jewish cult that Philo’s work targets. This begs the question: what is the role of sacrifice in a Christian community? If the singular atoning sacrifice has been conducted, what is the role of sacrifice in the Christian cult? I will continue to expound on Heyman’s recognition of a Biblical “living sacrifice”, yet approach it from an angle that focuses on the physical consequences of sacrifice. In presenting this concept of a living sacrifice to the early church, Paul the apostle writes “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” (Romans 12:1). Although it at first may seem that this is purely spiritual due to the translation of “spiritual worship”, Heyman points out an impactful distinction in the original Greek. The term used in the Greek may also be interpreted as “rational service” or “rational worship” (Heyman, 147). Heyman recognizes this when he says; “The use of the Greek concept logiken is perplexing, since Paul favors the word pneumatikos when referring to ‘spiritual’ categories” (Heyman, 147). Heyman reasons that this distinction is due to Paul getting creative with the sacrificial rhetoric available at the time. However, I
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