Sacrifices and Altars
"Altar-building is very common in Africa," says Ugandan missionary Greg Fisher. He explains, "The Lord's Resistance Army - operating in the north of Uganda - have five altars. They are places where the LRA makes contact with the supernatural and renews their covenant with the forces of the Dominion of Darkness. These are altars where human sacrifice has been done to seal a dark covenant. This is one of the reasons why we continue to contend that the civil war in the north is, in fact, a spiritual war. Many times," he says, "as I visit in the villages I see altars where animals are sacrificed as a way of confirming a covenant with a local god. These covenants are ways of ensuring the god's blessing and protection for the family."
In the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, altars served two major purposes: They were contact points where people had encounters with God, and they were places of sacrifice where men made covenants with God. In fact the Hebrew word for covenant literally meant to cut something in two, suggestive of the sacrifice that was made at an altar.
Altars imply the shedding of blood - something that has become repulsive to the modern mind. Yet Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross and gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Paul wrote to believers in Rome and told them that their bodies should be living sacrifices given to God at the altar of commitment. Giving yourself in commitment to Jesus Christ and His cause isn't something that you do in a passionate act of surrender. It's something you have to do every day as you say, "Lord, I'm yours! Whatever You order today I will obey."
Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1