Sunday, September 2, 2012

Coming Before the King

Don't Let Familiarity Breed Contempt

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

We are told in Scripture that - through Christ - we can come boldly before God, even into His very presence because the veil that separated the Holy of Holies has been rent (Matthew 27:51; II Corinthians 3:12-18).  The fact that we can now come boldly before the throne of grace does not mean however that we can come brazenly before the throne.
boldly: parrēsia (Greek); freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance

brazen: shamelessly or with impudence; insolent, defiant, brass; made of brass
I mention this because I am not so sure that people perceive the difference.  It is appropriate that brazen means to be like "brass", for brass in Scripture is the equivalent of flesh; and that is what we often see on parade as being offerings for God in His Church.  This is why much of the Church has lost proper reverence for God.

Let us not mistake what has been done for us in Christ.  Through Jesus, that which was filthy, abominable, and antagonistic to God is cleansed by the covering of His blood to be able to stand before Him.  What Jesus has not accomplished is changing the nature of God so that He is now down at our level, allowing flesh to glory in His presence (I Corinthians 1:29).  Jesus does not make Himself our "home boy".  Rather, we are raised (from our lost & sin-filled place) to sit with Him in Heavenly places.  Jesus makes us acceptable for God; He hasn't made God acceptable of sin. That is a BIG difference.

God is just as holy, righteous, and majestic as He is portrayed in the Old Testament. Examine just a few examples of what these Scriptures have to say about man entering into His presence.

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives." Exodus 19:10-15

When preparing the people to come into His presence, God commanded Moses to have the people sanctify themselves and their clothing.  The penalty for coming near His presence apart from these instructions was death.

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on." Leviticus 16:2-4

The Most Holy Place, where the ark of the covenant resided in the temple, was only allowed to be accessed by the High Priest.  Even then the High Priest had to undergo cleansing rituals to be made acceptable to enter in. The ark of the covenant itself, which was representative of the presence of the Lord, was not even to be touched except by those who had been called and sanctified by God for fear of death (II Samuel 6:6-7).

"All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days...Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish...And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre." Esther 4:11,  4:16, 5:2

As an illustration of God's sovereignty and power, not even the King's wife could approach him unless she was called for fear of death.  Even before becoming his wife, Esther had to undergo purification to even be presented as acceptable to him (Esther 2:3-4).

I hope you see what a great and tremendous gift has been accomplished for us through the blood of Christ Jesus.  We are not only able to come into His presence, but to have our very bodies be the temple of God...and not because God has changed, but because He has changed us to be made accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).  If we are mindful of this, then we will be very conscious of how we present ourselves to Him and walk before Him, knowing that we are not our own but have been brought with a price.

"Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 20:7

"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." I Peter 1:15-16

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this.

    Although there is a lot to think about in this article the two things that really stood out to me were:

    Jesus makes us acceptable for God; He hasn't made God acceptable of sin. That is a BIG difference.

    "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." I Peter 1:15-16

    I like many others struggle with being holy in all manner of conversation. I don't even know if I know what this would look like, not to vent or backbite. Very sad.


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