Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, September 25, 2017
Devotional 12 in our series, “Removing the Veil: Sanctuary Living in the 21st Century.” Our subject is: Sanctification
Here’s the question for consideration: What are some of the differences between the Old Testament priests and our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ?
“And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them” (Exodus 19:22).
Clear Line of Difference
We have to know our limits! Don’t let this startle you, though. Even those hand picked by God to do a special, Holy work must realize our limitations. In the case of the Old Testament priests, their sin and human flesh were what made it necessary for them to be abundantly clear on their roles. Willful ignorance in that regard would have proven disastrous and fatal.
Let me demonstrate with a couple of contrasting passages from Scripture. Here’s the first: “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:19). Notice the difference between the reason Jesus sanctified Himself and why the priests of old needed to be sanctified. Jesus sanctified Himself so all of His people could be sanctified through the truth. He never sinned, and thus His sanctification had nothing to do with turning away from sinful ways. God’s people’s sanctification is wrapped up, tied up, and tangled up in Jesus Christ’s victory. Our holiness comes from Him. Got it.
The priests of old were to be sanctified by God as a safeguard against His effulgent holiness destroying them instantly. If the priests were to stumble into proximity of God in the mount, let alone upon the top where He shrouded Himself in a divine cloud, their sinfulness would have made them immediate casualties. But, God was loving enough to counsel them to confess and forsake their sins. He was merciful enough to advise them to invest some time in soul searching. He was wonderful enough to teach them that appearing before Almighty God (blessed be His name) is no light matter, and that they must be fully set aside as holy before they have close contact with Him.
A Better Way. The Only Way.
This wondrous contrast between Jesus Christ, the epitome of sanctuary (our resting place), and all of the rites, ceremonies, materials, configurations, and priests of old, is what makes the plan of salvation so great! God was showing us, through the frailty of our humanity, that He is able to save to the uttermost all who will trust in Him completely.
He was showing that He was willing to condescend for the purpose of elevating us. I hope this truth is not lost on you, friends. God loves you and has called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light. He has made provisions to usher you into His presence, but you must be willing to follow His instructions as He makes you holy everyday.
Before I close, I’d like to show another contrast. This one is even more obvious than the first. Let’s break in, midway through a serious teaching in the book of Hebrews. “Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” (Hebrews 7:16).
Of Jesus, Paul taught that His priesthood is eternal, unlike the priests of old. They died and stayed dead. Jesus is the life and light of men. When His divine essence allowed His human form to die for our sins, He took up His life again. The priests died because of sin. Jesus died for our sins. The priests participated in the sacrifices of the people and needed to make sacrifices for themselves. Jesus was our sacrifice, slain from the foundations of the world. The priests sinned and needed the gift of repentance. Jesus is the sinless giver of repentance. The priesthood of old was nullified when Jesus gave His life for the ungodly. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us.
While I am thankful for the lessons YHWH has taught us through the Old Testament perspective on salvation, I am more appreciative of the fulness, which is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ.