Thursday, October 20, 2011

Legalism vs. Purity

This morning I started week 7 of a Beth Moore Bible study and it is BLOWING MY MIND.  And the coolest thing about it is that everything that God is pouring into my life through His Word is reinforcing everything else that is Biblical.  It really isn't surprising to me. It is just so cool how God's Word is complimentary from beginning to end and back again.

I've struggled my whole life to understand the Old Testament instructions about the Tabernacle and the sacrifices that God required from His people.  I guess that I could see how it was necessary for them to do these rituals since Messiah had not yet come to redeem them.  But I could not see how it was necessary for me to really understand it.  I got bogged down by the different sacrifices and ALL THAT BLOOD being reported over and over again throughout the first several books of the Old Testament.  

It is so amazing how God leads us through a journey of understanding and how one lesson of Scripture leads to and confirms another lesson of Scripture.  (I'm also thinking that my parents were genius in wanting me to attend Bible school following high school and I'm sorry that I didn't take their advice.)

While I can't take you through the entire seven weeks of what we have studied so far about the Tabernacle and how it applies to our lives today, I can share what God has spoken to my heart today.

In an earlier post I think I was struggling yet to understand some things and was unable to fully express it.  It is hard to differentiate sometimes between "legalism" and "purity". (AND it is good to know that you can learn something new even in your late 40s.)  

Last Sunday, our pastor so beautifully illustrated how Jesus did NOT come to save us because of His great love for us.  He DOES love us and that was what motivated Him to fulfill the Father's will.  But God's Holiness DEMANDS that He save us because we are completely unable to save ourselves.  We are sinful.  God is Holy.  Holiness and sin cannot coexist.  Period.  Therefore, it is because of God's love for us that He was willing to redeem us so that we could stand as righteous before God and have relationship with Him.  It is not about us!!!  

And that, my friends, is why God gave us the illustration of His coming sacrifice in the requirements  of  the Tabernacle.  One of the questions in our lesson today was "why did God impose such concrete qualifications for His priesthood?"  Bear in mind that because of Jesus and what He did on the cross that we are now ALL called priests and it is no longer a title but a state of being.  Leviticus 22:31-33 tells us the answer:  so as not to treat His holy name as common and ordinary.


I've taught my children things over the years without even realizing the WHY of what I taught them.  WHY do we do certain things and not do certain other things?  It should all go back to God.  So that the world can see that God is God and He is Holy.  Therefore, we should live our lives set apart from the world so as not to treat His holy name as common or ordinary!!!!!!

Living lives set apart from the world makes us different!  That should not make us say "look at us, we're better than you."  It is meant for us to say "Look at us.  Our God is Holy and we want to please Him in all that we do so we live lives set apart to BRING HIM GLORY!"

My parents taught me this but I didn't always get it.  I got caught up in the doing and the not doing.  If our behavior is different but our hearts are evil it doesn't matter what we are doing  differently.  

I'm afraid that what I taught my kids too often was how to have good behavior rather than how necessary it is to have a pure heart before God.  How  I pray that before we are gone from this life we can all get the heart thing down and let God show us how to work that out in our actions.

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