The Temple, Holiness, and Us

My daily Bible reading is in Ezekiel right now, and SHEW! I’ve been reading about the measurements and the details of the temple for the past couple of days.

So much measuring.

So many layers.

So many rooms.

So many purposes.

So much protection for what is holy.

As a matter of fact, the priests were warned to “avoid carrying the sacrifices through the outer courtyard and endangering the people by transmitting holiness to them.”

When I first read this sentence, I thought to myself “how could holiness endanger anyone?”

Can holiness really be dangerous?

So, I did a little online research and learned that God wanted to be sure that no one developed the false idea that simply being near the sacrifice would make them holy.

There’s nothing like a false sense of holiness to keep us from striving to be holy.

As Old Testament laws and ceremonies related to sacrifices and the role of the priests and the temple transformed into New Testament teachings of Jesus being our High Priest and final sacrifice, we became the Temple of God.

No longer did someone have to enter the Holy of Holies for us.

No longer were daily sacrifices required to cover our sin and guilt.

No longer did God protect us from His Presence by high walls and thick curtains.

As the Old Testament was replaced by the New, the temple was replaced by our very beings.

And sometimes I think we forget just how dangerous this is.

There’s such a difference between being near Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, and allowing Him to live within us.

It’s easy to think that going to church, talking about Jesus, and maybe doing good deeds in His name are enough to make us holy………….

But holiness is more than a nearness to the Sacrifice.

The priests got messy as they prepared the sacrifices.

In the privacy of the inner sanctuary, their hands were covered in the blood of these sin offerings.

They ate them after presenting them to God.

I use to struggle as I read about all of the details of the animal sacrifices.

I still cringe.

I still find God’s ways confusing.

But, I’m realizing more and more every day just how much God wants me to see myself in these Old Testament teachings.

Getting messy with the blood of the Lamb.

Seeing and smelling all that went on inside the temple walls and realizing that it wasn’t always pretty in there, but everything that happened was necessary in order to make atonement for all that was wrong.

Holiness doesn’t come by a nearness to Jesus.

It comes by owning up to what happened on the cross and realizing that the blood He shed got on us too.

Close your eyes and imagine being right there at the cross.

See the pain.

Smell the air mixed with sweat and blood.

All that ugliness was for you and for me.

It’s pretty humbling to realize that through the crucifixion Jesus ushered in a whole new relationship with God.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,

so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

II Cor. 5:21

No more priests.

No more temples.

The curtain was torn from top to bottom, and God said, “I am with you now.”

And the reality of this statement, “I am with you now,” is dangerous………

Because being a temple for God isn’t something to take lightly, and I’m afraid I take it lightly every day.

I want to be set apart for His purposes.

I want to worthy of His presence in my life.

And many times I fail.

So today, I’m thankful for the reminder in Ezekiel about how the nearness of a sacrifice can endanger me.

I don’t want the nearness of Jesus to give me a false sense of holiness.

I want to keep feeling the messiness that comes from remembering what He endured for me on the cross in order for me to gain true holiness.

And with this remembering I want to be changed daily into someone who reflects His holiness more and more.

 

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