15 G. D. Fee, ‘Paul and the Metaphors of Salvation’, in S. T. Davis, D. Kendall, and G. O’Collins (eds.), The Redemption (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 43 67, at 55 60.
The non-cultic sense was to the fore when he appealed to the Christians of Rome: ‘present your bodies (¼ your selves) as a living sacriﬁce, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual [or ‘reasonable’] worship’ (Rom. 12: 1). The apostle called on believers to live self-sacriﬁcing lives. Sacriﬁce was not merely something that had happened on their behalf; it was something in which they should be intimately involved, even to the point of self-surrender to a new, demanding form of existence in the sight of God. Augustine of Hippo also took up the theme of sacriﬁce in both ways. On the one hand, he declared: ‘he [Christ] is a priest in that he offered himself as a holocaust for expiating and purging away our sins’ (Sermo, 198. 5).16 On the other hand, Augustine stressed the interior relationship of love, without which the mere external performance of ritual would never bring the desired communion with God: ‘all the divine precepts’, which ‘refer to sacriﬁces either in the service of the tabernacle [in the desert] or of the temple [in Jerusalem]’, are to be understood symbolically ‘to refer to the love of God and neighbour. For “on these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” [Matt. 20: 40]’ (The City of God, 10. 5). It was the interior disposition that gave value to the exterior, cultic actions: ‘a sacriﬁce is the visible sacrament or sacred sign of an invisible sacriﬁce’ (ibid.). The external sacriﬁcial gift must symbolize the inner, invisible sacriﬁce—a conviction strongly endorsed not only by the Reformers but also by others writing earlier (e.g. Origen) and later (the French School). In the light of Psalm 51, Thomas Aquinas endorsed a broad, noncultic account of sacriﬁce: ‘whatever is offered to God in order to raise the human spirit to him, may be called a sacriﬁce’ (STh. 3a. 22. 2). Yet in the very same article Aquinas proposed a more cultic reading of sacriﬁce, or at least of the sacriﬁce of Christ, who was ‘a perfect victim, being at the same time victim for sin, victim for a peace-offering, and a holocaust’. Like many others before and after him, Aquinas drew here on the Letter to the Hebrews. That extensive treatment of Christ as ‘high priest according to the order of Melchizedek’ (Heb. 5: 10; 6: 20), as we saw, lavishly used imagery from sacriﬁcial rituals prescribed for the Levitical priesthood, with the aim of showing both (1) the superiority of Christ’s own priesthood and (2) the superiority of the sacriﬁce Christ offered once and for all (Heb. 5: 10; 6: 20). At the same time, Hebrews recalled that Christ did not die in a sacred setting but in a profane place, with his bloody death on a cross