Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Wonderful verses! Our author is wrapping up his exhortations now, thus the “therefore.” A sacrifice of praise; this isn’t really an Old Testament concept as much as it is a recognition of the reality that has come in Christ. What is left to do but praise Him? This is a sacrifice that pleases God…
But there is something of a “catch” in the second part of the sentence. This pleasing sacrifice is the “fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Think about those original recipients in Rome during Nero’s persecution. Wouldn’t it make sense to keep your mouth shut if you were in their situation? Of course it would, there’s no need to invite trouble, right?
Well dear reader, that’s why the author called it a sacrifice; it was truly a dangerous thing to do.
Fast-forward to the 21st century… How is it exactly that so many who live in freedom justify not speaking out in praise of Jesus Christ…? Yeah, I know, I’ve heard all of the excuses.
There is another new sacrifice mentioned in verse 16. We must “do good” and “share with others.” Please take careful note of the word “do.” As I’ve mentioned previously, the whole faith versus works argument is an argument based entirely on a false premise, for the two are not mutually exclusive. We don’t earn anything by what we do… clearly! We “do” because we love. We love because He first loved us, therefore the “do” part is a response to His love. Stop fighting it; it has nothing to do with earning something, it is a sacrifice that is pleasing to God.
As true as that is, there is more, for in serving others and “doing good” there is an added benefit, we grow closer to Him in relationship when we humble ourselves and put others ahead of ourselves. When the Body of Christ lives this way, the testimony to the world is powerful to say the least, and many more come to receive His love. You see, dear reader that is what Christ’s Ambassadors are here to do in this strange and foreign land we call earth.