Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Nothing unclean can exist in the presence of the LORD!"

Day #28

Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 13 - 15 ...

Reading these chapters in Leviticus quite probably seems at first glance to be strange and to have no connection to you and me in our modern technological world. Medical science has advanced far beyond the need for such archaic instructions and regulations.  The list of things that made people “unclean” is beyond our ability to understand or to accept.  Did God really give Moses these instructions for His people in those days?  Surely, there is nothing we can learn from these chapters that applies to our lives today!  However, there may be more here than you might imagine. Remember, God says through the Apostle Paul, "ALL Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16).  Since this is part of God's Word, and God says all of His Word is profitable for us, we need to grasp what God is saying to US in these words written by Moses to the people of Israel more than 3,000 years ago.

First, remember that their medical care was not like ours.  Some of the instructions God gives were for health reasons.  God was continually watching over His people and protecting them from the consequences of sin in their world and in their life together as a community.  If certain infectious diseases were allowed to spread within their camp unrestrained, many people would have died and they would have risked being destroyed as a nation.  For their own good, God gave them certain regulations for "cleanness" by requiring them to go to the priests.  This was a clear example of God’s love for His people and of His wisdom and protection over them.

But there was also a much deeper meaning to all of this.  Those who were determined to be "unclean" with an infectious disease had to live alone, outside the camp.  Not only could they not come near the tabernacle to worship or to bring offerings, but they could not live among God's people.  It is important to see that God connected physical "uncleanness" to "ceremonial uncleanness" ... which required a sacrifice, an offering of atonement.  Those who were “unclean” could not enter His presence or live in the midst of His people.  Even in this, God was pointing ahead to the need for a Savior, to our need for spiritual cleansing.

All of the details of God's design for "cleanness" point to OUR need to be purified by the blood of Christ.  Nothing unclean, imperfect or impure can exist in the presence of a holy God.  People and houses alike needed to be purified as God commanded.  "You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them" (15:31).  Uncleanness had to do with approaching God at the tabernacle.  And the Bible tells us that there is a greater tabernacle today.  The tabernacle, and later the temple, were copies of heavenly things.  Life in this world is a prelude to eternity, and the Bible is the revelation of God to man, leading to the one and only way to be made CLEAN, perfect, pure - FOREVER!!  Only those who are purified, washed, made spiritually clean, can enter into the presence of the LORD our God.

While so many today think all religions are the same and believe that “all roads lead to heaven,” considering themselves and others good enough, God says we are all “unclean,” that we have all sinned against Him and are unwilling and unable to approach Him unless we are washed, purified, made clean, and we have already seen that the only thing that can do that is the blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on the cross to satisfy the justice of God for all who believe.  God provides a way through faith in Jesus to be made perfect in His sight.  This is the Gospel, the good news!  ONLY in Jesus are we declared "clean," because only in Jesus is atonement made and only in Jesus are we forgiven ... and when that happens ... we are called to be separate from the pollution of the world.  We are those INSIDE the camp and all who are unclean are OUTSIDE the camp.  Read II Corinthians 6:14-18 and 7:1 ...

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. ...  For we are the temple of the living God!  As God has said, 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'  'Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord.  'Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty.  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

You see, there is a crucial connection for us to the instruction God gave Moses for the people of Israel about uncleanness.  They had to look forward to the Savior whom God would send.  They had to continue bringing sacrifices day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.  Still, their consciences were bound by the awareness of their sin.  Many live like that today, but we who, by God’s grace, through the work of His Holy Spirit within us, believe in Jesus Christ, know that we live in "the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).  Through faith in Jesus we are justified, declared holy, clean, righteous, pure in God's sight!  So now we can enter into His presence without fear.  Jesus is OUR High Priest and He offers Himself as the only sacrifice for sin.  "By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (Hebrews 10:14).  "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus ... Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water" (10:19, 22).

From Genesis through Revelation the Bible is one book, with one message, that reveals one way to come to God.  He has made known to us the one and only way to be declared “clean,” and so to enter His presence.  Read God’s Word with eagerness and anticipation, believe all that God says is true and then rejoice in God's salvation!

"Our Father in heaven, Your Word is truth and in reading it and understanding it there is wisdom.  As Your Spirit inspired those who wrote it, so may Your Spirit open our minds to accept it as truth and to come to You in the one and only way that we can enter Your perfect presence - through Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank You, Father, for making a way for us to be CLEAN in Your sight and to live with You forever.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

No comments:

Post a Comment