Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 77

Answered Prayers continued...

The fourth and final attribute the word of God tells us is necessary in order to enter the Holiest, is to have our bodies washed with pure water. If the other three attributes were of a spiritual nature, it is only fitting to conclude that this fourth attribute is likewise of a spiritual nature.

It would be a somewhat pointless exercise to go into the land of the metaphysical and proceed to define the difference between the physical and spiritual, because I hope we all have a basic understanding of what separates the physical realm from the spiritual realm.

The author of Hebrews isn’t telling believers to go take a bath. He’s not saying they should shower more often, or bathe frequently. When we are told that we must have our bodies washed with pure water, we are in essence told we must allow the word of God to wash us clean, and keep us clean in all our ways.

Yes, in the Old Testament ritual bathing was a custom practiced by the ancient Jews, and something commanded of God for those who entered the tabernacle of meeting, or came near the altar of the Lord. We see examples of this throughout the Old Testament, especially in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 30:17-21, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘you shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them – to him and his descendants throughout the generations.’”

Aaron and his sons were chosen and set apart for the priest’s office. As such, they bore the responsibility of standing before God in purity, in cleanliness, in righteousness and holiness. The washing of the hands and of the feet, was a symbolic representation of their inner hearts, and just as they had to wash themselves with water lest they die, we must likewise wash ourselves in the water of the word, lest we die.

‘But why do we have to be clean? Why must we have our bodies washed with pure water…it’s not like we’re priests or anything.’

1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

Not only are the children of God a holy nation, not only are they His own special people, not only were they called out of darkness into His marvelous light, they are also a royal priesthood. Because we are a royal priesthood and can enter the tabernacle of meeting, and can approach the altar of the Lord, we must do so, having washed our bodies with pure water just as the priests of old were commanded to do.

What they were commanded to do in the physical, we are now commanded to do in the spiritual. No, there shouldn’t be a bronze bowl of water by your bedside in which you wash your hands and feet each time you come before God in prayer, but you must always be washed clean by His holy word when you approach Him.

John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

You are clean because of the word, and you remain clean as long as you remain in the word. If it’s freezing outside, you can only remain warm while you are indoors and near the fire. The same principle can be applied to our remaining clean, and being able to do so, only as long as we remain in the word of God.

The body must be cleansed and sanctified daily with the waters of life – the waters of the truth of God’s holy word. The word of God, the Bible, is the instruction manual that tells us how it is we can come to be temples of the Holy Spirit, living in His presence in perpetuity.

We can’t guess at something this important. We must read the word, know the word, and live the word of God, so we might come to that place of obedience and sanctification required of everyone who calls themselves a child of God.

We as God’s creation constitute the union and amalgamation of the spiritual and the physical. As such, we belong to both worlds equally, both the seen, and the unseen world. Both the material and the spiritual were recompensed by Christ, both were bought by His blood, and as such both must belong to God. The power of salvation must be as powerful a reality in the physical and for the physical as it is in the spiritual and for the spiritual.

If we draw near the altar of the Lord, if we enter the Holiest, then both the heart must be sprinkled from an evil conscience, and the body must be washed with pure water. Both the physical and the spiritual must be in harmony, submission, and obedience to the will and word of God.

The sprinkling of the heart from an evil conscience cannot be separated from the washing of our bodies with pure water, because they are as two sides of the same coin, or two branches of the same tree. As such we cannot have a clear conscience, while still allowing our bodies to do as they will, living in frivolity and the lust of the flesh. The body must be washed with pure water, just as the heart must be sprinkled from an evil conscience. Only in this way will we be able to enter the Holiest, and stand in His presence.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Mrs. Pugh said...

Well said, Brother Mike. There are still many out there that don't look at their Christian walk as an ongoing thing. They don't realize, or don't want to submit to the fact that we must constantly seek the Lord. It's not okay to just know about Him. We must know Him, and we do this by knowing His will. How gracious He is to have given us His word. It's so simple to follow Him... it just requires everything!

Mrs. Pugh