August 3, 2020
Acceptable Sacrifices
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

In the Old Testament theocracy of Israel, it was the responsibility of the Levitical priesthood to be “daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices” in atonement for the sins of the people, and this continued until Jesus Christ “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Hebrews 10:11-12). The old priesthood has now been set aside. Only the sacrifice of Christ and our identification with Him through faith is acceptable for our salvation.

Nevertheless, there is a new priesthood—a spiritual priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices—and it is vital that we who are now His priests offer sacrifices that are acceptable and pleasing to God. The first and most basic sacrifice is set forth in one of the Bible’s key verses: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

Three other acceptable sacrifices are outlined in the concluding chapter of Hebrews. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

The continual offering of praise to God, in all circumstances acknowledging His wisdom and goodness, is an acceptable sacrifice. Doing good works—not for our salvation but because of our salvation—is acceptable. So is “communicating” (Greek koinonia)—sharing what we have with others. With these sacrifices, God is “well pleased.” It is our high privilege as His holy priesthood to offer up these spiritual sacrifices. HMM



Our daily bread


our daily bread


August 3 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 63-65; Romans 6


The Battle’s Over. Really.

We were . . . buried with him.

Romans 6:4





For twenty-nine years after World War II ended, Hiroo Onoda hid in the jungle, refusing to believe his country had surrendered. Japanese military leaders had dispatched Onoda to a remote island in the Philippines (Lubang) with orders to spy on the Allied forces. Long after a peace treaty had been signed and hostilities ceased, Onoda remained in the wilderness. In 1974, Onoda’s commanding officer traveled to the island to find him and convince him the war was over.

For three decades, Onoda lived a meager, isolated existence, because he refused to surrender—refused to believe the conflict was done. We can make a similar mistake. Paul proclaims the stunning truth that “all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). On the cross, in a powerful, mysterious way, Jesus put to death Satan’s lies, death’s terror, and sin’s tenacious grip. Though we’re “dead to sin” and “alive to God” (v. 11), we often live as though evil still holds the power. We yield to temptation, succumbing to sin’s seduction. We listen to lies, failing to trust Jesus. But we don’t have to yield. We don’t have to live in a false narrative. By God’s grace we can embrace the true story of Christ’s victory.

While we’ll still wrestle with sin, liberation comes as we recognize that Jesus has already won the battle. May we live out that truth in His power.

By Winn Collier


Jesus, I know You’ve won the battle over evil and darkness. Would You help me to live this out?

How are you tempted to believe that death and sin still hold power over your life? Where can you see Christ’s victory already present in the world?


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Paul’s question in Romans 6:1—“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase”—flows from his observation in the previous chapter that when sin increases, grace increases “all the more” (5:20). So Paul asks if grace is a license to sin. Not if we value being in the gracious care of Christ rather than in the custody and condemnation of the law (v. 21). Not when we see that what we lost in Adam now overflows in the life, love, peace, and hope that comes in the awareness of what it means to be united in and with Jesus (chs. 5-6). Mart DeHaan




Have Mercy on Me, a Sinner – Forward with Back to the Bible – August 3

Have Mercy on Me, A Sinner

Read Luke 18: 9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast, and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


Do you identify more with the Pharisee or the tax collector?

During my teenage years, I was a good kid. I obeyed my parents and teachers, I worked and studied hard, I volunteered, read my Bible, and went to church. I did not drink or party or do drugs. I was not promiscuous.

One night at a youth group, some kids were confessing their sins and sharing their testimonies. I remember a thought that popped into my brain. “Wow, I am glad I’m not like these kids.”

Yikes. It hurts to remember that. Thankfully, I have come to recognize that this attitude is the very attitude Jesus rebuked. He got so angry at the Pharisees and called them “foolish” and “blind” and said, “Woe to you!” The people who seemed to be behaving correctly and were being “good,” were the ones that Jesus condemned.

The tax collector who was dishonest and a traitor to his own people was “justified before God” because he recognized his sin and asked for God’s mercy. He knew that without God, He’d be lost. It wasn’t a matter of outward morality. It was a heart issue.

I was guilty of pride. I was a blind hypocrite. I professed to being a Christian but acted like I didn’t really need Christ. I couldn’t see the hidden sins in my own heart.

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in my life for convicting me and showing me just how much I need a Savior. Whether you relate more to the Pharisee or the tax collector when it comes to outward morality, we all need Jesus in order to be justified. Romans 3:23-24 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”


Jesus, no matter how good I try to be, I will always fall short of Your standard. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Thank you that I am justified before God only because of You. Amen.

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About Back to the Bible
Back to the Bible is a worldwide Christian ministry dedicated to leading people forward spiritually. Using media and technology, Back to the Bible meets people at their own spiritual level and walks with them daily into a living, growing and passionate relationship with Jesus Christ by equipping and motivating them to engage Scripture daily. With every 25-minute study, you’ll gain a better understanding of what the Bible says, what it means and how to apply it to everyday life.
About Pastor Nat Crawford
Pastor Nat Crawford is the new Bible teacher on the “Back to the Bible” daily podcast. He has master’s degrees in biblical exposition and Christian apologetics from Moody Bible Institute and Biola University. Nat completed his undergraduate studies at Grace University, majoring in biblical studies and business leadership, and went on to serve as a teaching pastor at First Free Church in Lincoln, Neb.

Nat says his passion is helping people know what they believe and why they believe it. “When this happens,” he says, “their love of God increases, and their passion for following Jesus naturally grows.”

Nat is writing a book and plans on beginning his doctoral studies in 2021. He and his wife Tiffany enjoy a full family life with their three boys: Simon, Landon, and Gracen. Nat and his family live in Lincoln Neb.