It has been said that Christianity is not about rules or regulations or even rituals, but relationships. In fact, that’s pretty much what the writer of the book of Hebrew’s is saying in today’s passage. Although the Law is good as far as it goes, Christianity was never meant to be a matter of simply keeping commandments. It is meant to be a matter of love.
That’s not to say that commandments are unimportant, or that there are not things we should and should not do. There are, and the great gift the Law gives us is that it clarifies those things. But we obey the Law because we want to, not because we have to.
True, it is not always that way. Sometimes we do what we have to even if we don't really want to it. But I think the principle still holds—in the larger sense, we still want to do what is right in the long run however we might feel about it in the moment.
And that brings us to sacrifice. When sacrifice is governed by law, it becomes a mathematical equation. There is a strict legalistic correspondence between what is done and what is required in response. But when sacrifice is governed by love, it becomes a matter of the heart.
The sacrifice that flows from love goes beyond what is merely required, doing more than what is necessary to achieve only some sort of equitable arrangement that everyone can live with. It wants to right what is fundamentally wrong. It is willing to sacrifice one’s very self ,and not just some lamb or goat, to redeem a broken or injured relationship. And this, of course, is the kind of love, the kind of sacrifice, that God offers us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
So let me ask us: Are our spiritual lives more a matter of “have to” or “want to”? Are we still stuck in the old way of satisfying demands, real or perceived, or the new and better way of having our very hearts changed so that live out of the lavishness of love?