(Pro 21:3 KJV) To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
This is another theme that is often repeated in the Word. It is summarized well in Micah 6:6-8. If you don’t know that passage, it might be a good one to memorize at least verse 8.
I find it interesting that we are to “do” (6213a) “justice" (righteousness NASB) (6666) and “judgment" (justice NASB) (4941). The KJV word "justice" is the Hebrew word for righteousness. I have just been listening to a sermon by a Calvinist brother who claimed that we cannot do righteousness. There seems to be a misunderstanding somewhere. Might I suggest a reading of Proverbs instead of the Institutes?
We have elevated “sacrifice” (2077) to the level of idol. We do not sacrifice animals any more but we do other things that make us feel like we are giving to God. The problem is that we begin to substitute rituals for obedience. One reason God is telling them sacrifice is not the end of all ends is because the Perfect Lamb of God is going to take care of the need for altar sacrifice. He will do it on the cross. It is like trying to mow the lawn with a pair of scissors, one blade at a time, just before the professional gardener arrives with his power mower.
God is still expecting more that reading the Four Spiritual Laws or praying a prayer. He wants us to live in righteousness and justice. That is hard because it demands a full time commitment to following Jesus. We hide behind ritual, tithes, witnessing and other activities that release us from the demands of godliness. It is much easier to meet the demands of legalism and ritualistic religion than walking the Highway of Holiness.