An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 127 of 277
of explaining in a manner agreeable to reason whatever is apparently
supernatural in the records of sacred history', and to act in a rational way
excludes not only anything foolish, but anything fanatical.  In spite of this
corruption of a noble word, the apostle Paul urges upon us all a 'rational
service' (Rom. 12:1).  Now this service which he calls rational contains the
very elements that would cause a rationalist to set it aside as fanaticism,
for it sums up the whole of the believer's rational service by saying:
'Present your bodies a living sacrifice'.
The English word 'sacrifice' also has lost an essential part of its meaning.
Sacrifice may or may not involve the shedding of blood, it may or may not be
accompanied by pain, loss, or deprivation.  It belongs to a group of words
like sacrament, sacrilege, sacristan, all of which revolve round the central
idea of something 'sacred'.  The word 'sacrifice' means literally 'to render
sacred' and comes from the Latin sacri 'sacred', and ficare, for facere, 'to
make'.  Now this Latin word facere gives us the English word fact and also
the English word 'perfect', per, through or thoroughly, and facere to make,
to become a fact.  Before, therefore, we turn to the Greek to learn from the
Word and words of God, our own English tongue supplies us with a precious
meaning of the word sacrifice; it means 'to make sacredness a fact', 'to
carry sanctification to its goal', 'to perfect holiness'.  Should such
perfecting demand the giving up of anything, the loss of anything, the
suffering of anything, this will be readily accepted, and inasmuch as we are
sinful creatures living in a world of sin, any move towards turning the
theory or doctrine of 'sacredness' into the practical reality must of
necessity be accompanied by suffering because of the opposition of evil.
Take, as another example, the word 'suffer'.  Here again the root of the word
reveals that pain is accidental to the word, for it is composed of suf (sub),
under; and ferre, to bear.  The English word 'bear' is simply the Greek
pherein and Latin ferre in English dress.  It has often puzzled children, and
sometimes their teachers, why the Lord should have said 'Suffer little
children to come unto Me', for of course no idea of pain is in mind.  Here
and in parallel cases, the word simply means to bear, to carry, to allow, to
Just as sacrifice originally means carrying the idea of sacredness
through into practice at whatever cost, so suffering means to bear whatever
burden of joy, sorrow or responsibility it may be right for us to endure,
whether pain and sorrow accompany the endurance or not.
Turning from the English to the original Scriptures, we find that the
one word translated 'sacrifice' in the New Testament is thusia.  Thuo from
which thusia comes, is translated, 'to sacrifice', 'to kill and to slay', but
it must be remembered that killing is a secondary meaning.  This root word
enters into the composition of thumiama 'incense' and thumiaterion, a vessel
in which incense was burned, 'a censer' (Heb. 9:4).  The word thusiasterion
which generally refers to the altar upon which the slain animal was burned,
is nevertheless used of the altar of incense in Luke 1:11, where the idea of
death or shedding of blood cannot be permitted.  The fact, also, that the New
Testament can use the word 'sacrifice' of that which is living (Rom. 12:1),
and of the actions of believers (Heb. 13:16; Phil. 2:17), without the
remotest thought of their death being involved, shows that the slaying and
killing is not inherent in a sacrifice, it only becomes a necessity when it
deals with sin.  Then, when sin is in view, the sacrifice must involve the
shedding of blood, simply because it is offered vicariously for the ungodly,
and because the wages of sin is death.  It is rational that the language of