Ezekiel 44:18-19: "Linen turbans shall be on their heads and linen undergarments shall be on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything which makes them sweat. "When they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers; then they shall put on other garments so that they will not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.
Galatians 3:27: For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:30-31: But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."
In the church today, we have it all mixed up. There's an old covenant and a new covenant, which one applies to our lives? Why is the old covenant in our faith if we have the new? Which parts do we adhere to? And which ones do we avoid? Here is the plain truth. Jesus tells us (in John 5:46, Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44, and Matthew 5:17) that the words in the old testament were written about Him. The old testament is here to point out why we need Jesus. They tell about His coming, they point out why we need Him. They point to Jesus and now we as followers of Jesus, that is what we must look to. The old testament is there for our guide to see Jesus in a deeper way. The good news is that when we focus on Jesus, we don't have to be concerned or fear the law any longer. A lot of well-meaning people of faith want us to focus on our works, on our behavior, and yet that is the whole focus of the followers of the old testament. We no longer focus on the old testament from what we must do, but what Jesus has fulfilled. In fact as the scripture points out in Ezekiel, the priests were not allowed to wear the clothing that was in the inner court, because even the clothing being that close to the Father through sacrifice would make them righteous! What is more, they weren't allowed to wear anything that made them sweat, do you know why? It was not so the clothes wouldn’t smell bad, it is because when you're that close to the Lord, there is no reason to work to the point of sweating. The old testament showed us everything that kept us from holiness, and with Jesus He does everything to include us all in His holiness. Do you get it? We through faith and baptism into discipleship wear the garments of holiness, righteousness, and wisdom. We don't boast about ourselves, but Jesus. It is His work that makes us holy. As a church we constantly look to the leaders of the our churches as the source of our holiness, still wearing robes from the inner court just like we are under the law. We are all in the inner court through Jesus. The Kingdom is here today, and everywhere we are, the kingdom is here through Jesus. We are all able and must be willing to walk into the inner court wearing the robes of righteousness ( metaphorically of course) and no longer desire to work for our righteousness. When we focus on being righteous through our own doing, we fall under the law. James tells us that salt water and fresh water cannot flow from the same stream. Now he is referring to blessing and curses, and yet it is the visual that I want to express. Salt water and fresh water mixed is brackish. Brackish water tastes like its clean and yet over time it eats away at the organs inside. We cannot mix the law and grace, through Jesus. It does not work. We desire the law when it fits our agenda, when we can judge others, when our hands are seemingly clean, and yet we fall on grace when we are open to judgment ourselves. It does not work that way. You see when we look to Jesus, and we understand the importance of His works, and His word, all others fall short. When we rest in His works, He in turn can use us to do His work. The works do not flow from us, but from Him. I am not suggesting at all that you go out and be a lawbreaker and walk through life in mediocrity. I am saying that senseless striving and feeling prideful for what we have accomplished is adverse to the new covenant. Look at the rich man in the bible. Teacher, teacher, what must I do to go to heaven? The man followed every single law there was, and he was wealthy. Jesus sees the pride of the man’s works, and tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. Why? Because when we accomplish things on our own, it doesn't matter. It is worthless because "the first will be last, and the last will be first." I believe that if the man did what Jesus said, and sold everything and followed Him, that Jesus would have restored every single bit of the man's wealth and then some. Because through Jesus, it takes a rebirth, and renewed mind. We all at times find ourselves at a point of no return in our lives and when we get to that point, we either break, fall down, or spiral into sickness, poverty, whatever it is. The reason is that we cannot bear the burden of the law and our own righteousness. We mix the law and grace together. When we see ourselves as first, most likely we will be last in no time. The hope is, that when we release all of the things that are first in our lives, and follow Jesus then we will all be first with Him. When we are first with Him, our lives will go into a new level of redemption, sanctification, righteousness, and wisdom. Remember that it was the few who were righteous in the old testament ministering to the many. With Jesus it us the many who are ministers of His grace, clothed in Him on display to the few. Trust Jesus and let go of everything that comes before Him. Especially the law, that all came before Him. Let the self-righteous run off and be sad like the rich man. Trust and follow Jesus, and with Him we will all be first in the Kingdom seated with Jesus.
Thank You Father for You amazing plan of the new covenant through Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You that by believing in Him and abiding in Him, we are made new and can enter into Your Holiness set apart from our sin and shame that You remember no more. Thank You that You see us as You see Jesus, washed new and righteous by His works not our own. Thank You Lord. Hallelujah, we praise You! In Jesus name, amen.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org