Christianity is a doing kind of religion. It is not a mystical one. It is not one of inward contemplation, and it is not one of mental gymnastics or intellectual introspection.
The simplicity of it is as its keypoint states, that Jesus was PRESENTED in a certain way, in order for a certain response to be invoked..
Although it is definitely NOT a “sacrifice” in the simplistic sense, nevertheless it was presented as such because this is what invokes the required response, and it is in this presentation that the power of it lies.
To analyse and theorise, destroys its simplistic redemptive power. Christianity is NOT theorising religion.
And this is where we get to James. He says that the kind of faith that does not result in good works towards others is useless. He is saying that the proof of the reality lies, not this time in the “fruit of the Spirit”, such as peace joy love etc, although this is true, but that the result of this indwelling Spirit will not only be the signs of love joy peace, but also that the outworking of love will be evident towards others in the practical good that it does.
Titus says that practical religion, worthwhile doctrine, is this. To feed the widows, look after the poor etc, to not just wish people well but to DO them well. God so loved that he GAVE.
Therefore there is an outworking from the servants of God, in the form of rendering the service of God towards his people. “As you did it (or not) to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” Jesus said.
It is a religion of life, not death. It is the death of Jesus that has become our death for us, and our pursuits are now after the things of life, because on the basis of belief, faith and trust, we accept he has met our death FOR us, and relieved us of it. Therefore our eyes are turned forward to the things of life, believing that the things of death are in his keeping, have been dealt with, and are finished with.
So we don’t have to manufacture our death, or pursue it; we have to accept it. And then we can freely pursue the things of life he offers, because his death was past and once for all, but his life is present and for all people for all time. Putting the earthly things inside you to death, means simply relegating them to the place they rightfully belong, and leaving them there at his cross, because he has dealt with them. Life has to be allowed to overwhelm the things of death, and we must “overcome” in terms of faith by making all these things we profess as realities, to be realities in our lives.
But all these things are simple realities that come from believing the message, that in his death lies the world’s forgiveness and redemption, and accepting this will bring that precious Spirit of his that calls us to service in the world of “the forgiven ones”, those who rely on the promise of life eternal, to be experienced by faith, and so confirmed now and permanently delivered on the day of his return.