Monday, July 31, 2006
This morning, I met with a few men from my church for a bible study. I have to admit I debated whether to get up and make this 6 am study. I really only know a couple of the guys. I would not have rolled out of bed had not Drew woke me up at 5:30. (Who needs an alarm clock when you have babies?) The fact that my friend leading the group, Paul Townsend, has cancer played even more into it. How could I let him down?
We were discussing what makes the difference between OT believers and us today. Funny I have been reading over the weekend A History of the Jews and have read up through the history of the OT and the time of the early Christian church. Reading from a historian's pov, you can really see the message of the new covenant that Jesus proclaimed and where it rocked the Judaism worldview.
As we were sharing this morning what made the difference in a life of forgiveness based on not a ritual system but on the complete atoning sacrifice of the Son - a sacrifice we know is acceptable and complete. We also discussed what does it mean to know we are forgiven. Is it just some act that happened but doesn't really change us or make a difference?
I thought of the temple and how pre-Christ everything was community based and had to be done in one place by one person on our behalf but since the Messiah has come the temple itself is us as He dwells not in a temple made by hands by in our very bodies and the sacrifice has been made once for all. I thought of how Moses alone would enter the tent of meeting and the congregation would just wait anxiously for him to bring word from God. This glorious new covenant is one of freedom and transformation.
I wasn't really thinking of the torn curtain but as I shared it came to mind. The curtain being torn paved the way for my acceptance - that it what I usually think of. But it did something else. Something far greater than forgiveness is just a means to attain. It enabled me to enter the Holy of Holies; to enter His presence - holy and complete. To experience what Moses did - meeting Him face to face - but even greater because his glory faded and we are being changed with ever-increasing glory. (Matt 27:50-52; 2 Cor 3; Hebrews 10:19-25.)
Do I take the torn curtain for grant it? Do I just go: ' that's great. I am forgiven and have that eternal life thing.' Do I long for holiness? Do I am embrace that I am holy and a saint (holy one)? Do I long to enter the Most Holy Place and be in His presence? Am I satisfied hanging out in the court of Gentiles when the way has been provided for so much more?
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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. Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherÂand all the more as you see the Day approaching. - Hebrews 10:19-25