Joseph A. Bias
Holy God, Holy People, Holy Things
"But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD. 38 Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.” Exodus 30:37
God gave Moses specific instructions for making an anointing oil (Exodus 30:22-38) to be used exclusively for the Tabernacle, and by the priests and Levites, who were set apart for work in the Tabernacle. It was to be a Holy oil, exclusively used in the service of the Lord and Him only. The exclusivity of the use of the oil was established by law on penalty of being cut off God and from the people or even death for anyone who used it for any other purpose.
Everything in the fabrication of the Tabernacle was set apart and made Holy by the anointing of God, according to the Word of the Lord given to Moses. Each person employed in the building of the structure and of fashioning the artifacts of the Tabernacle were also to be set apart for God's Holy purpose.
Nothing and no one was permitted to enter the Holy Place that was not washed, purified, and anointed with oil, consecrated for the service of the Lord. Moreover, the Tabernacle was to be a place that mirrored the pattern of things in Heaven.
The priest and the Levites had exclusive access to the Holy Places of the Tabernacle and particular responsibilities of service to God in those places on behalf of the people. Each man's role was specific to His gifting and calling from the Lord. Each was called to serve willingly and whole-heartedly in his order of service.
Not only were the priests and the Levites set apart to be Holy, but the whole nation was called to be a holy nation of kings and priests unto God. Every man had the responsibility of being the priest of his household. He was responsible to teach the law to his children and together with his wife, their mother, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the God, according to the Laws of God given to Moses. But the priesthood was a higher and exclusive calling that was only given to the Sons of Aaron, supported by the Levites of the tribe of Judah. These men and their sons were the worship leaders and facilitators for the people to bring their sacrifices and offerings in worship to God
It was vitally important for Aaron, and his sons, the priests, to be set apart, purified, and anointed for their holy office of ministry and intercession for the people. Under penalty of death, they were not allowed to serve if they had defiled themselves in anyway. So, someone might ask, "How can anybody consistently live up to such a high standard of purity and adherence to the Law without failing in any measure?" The answer is clear, no one can. Indeed, no one can apart from God. But with God all things are possible.
This is the message of the Good News. What we could never do or accomplish in keeping the Law, Jesus came to do, and to fulfill all the Law for us. Then, by grace He gave us the blessings of keeping the law, without the fear of breaking it or being lost in our sins. He replaced the Old Law with a New Law, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, that has made us free from the law of sin and death. This new law was not written on tablets of stone but is now written on our hearts. The sin debt, Jesus paid for all of us, for all time. There is no other atonement no other remission for sin. The only debt we owe now is love.
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8
We, along with all humankind, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but now we have an Advocate, a High Priest, and Intercessor before the Father and with the Father, Who is Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the propitiation for all of our sins and the judge and justifier of all who have faith in Him. Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our righteousness has been freely given and declared to us by God the Creator and Judge of all. Now, our Holiness is first and foremost a gift from God, then it is a choice we make to yield ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit in us. When we chose by faith to believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead, and to confess Jesus is Lord, in that moment His Holiness was imparted to us. From that miraculous transforming moment, we became Holy for all time.
As flawed, fragile, broken earthen vessels, (some would say "cracked pots") we don't always act like we're holy? in fact, we can often act like anything but holy, but we are still holy, nonetheless. And that holiness is and will be our identity now and in the kingdom of Heaven to come.
We did nothing to earn our Holiness by any acts of human righteousness apart from God. Yet, by His mercy, grace and love we, the body of believers in Jesus Christ who trust in Him alone for Salvation, have been declared and are becoming a Holy nation.
We are, despite our faults and frailties, a chosen generation and a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own peculiar people that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
What was for the priests and Levites their Holy garments of service in the Tabernacle, we likewise, now have holy garments of praise and worship, of thanksgiving and blessing, that we can put on when we worship. In our walk of faith daily and in our worship, we put on Christ who is our High Priest forever. In Him we become by His calling also intercessors for the world, praying for His Kingdom to come on the earth as it is in Heaven.
Finally, as Holy people (new creations) set apart for His service, we, as Ambassadors of Jesus Christ, are also intercessors, called to pray.
Here are a few Calls to Prayer for every believer.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:6-7
1. Pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1)
2. Pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16)
3. Pry for laborers to be sent into the harvest (Luke 10:2)
4. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
5. Pray always (Luke 21:36)
6. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28)
7. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6)
8. Pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting (1Timothy 2:8)
9. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation (Matthew 13:33; 14:38; 26:41; Luke 22:40, 46;)
10. Pray for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:8;
11. Pray In everything (Philippians 4:6)
12. Pray the prayer or faith to save the sick (James 5:14-15)
13. Pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20)
14. Pray with the Spirit and with the understanding (1 Corinthians 4:15)
As Holy vessels of God, what are the things in our lives that are exclusively set apart for worship of God? Are their words or expressions of worship that are exclusively reserved for God. We honor God with the Tithe and Offerings and that is good. But, what about the other first fruits of our increase, are any of those reserved for His service? What about our time, our conversation, our thoughts, our valuable and precious things? Are there any things that we have set apart as Holy and exclusive for the service of God?
Now, before condemnation or some oppressive self-criticism creeps into your thinking, know this. Beyond the tithe, the first fruits of all our increase and offerings, God has not commanded any particular thing from us, except that we present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to Him, which is our reasonable service of worship.
So, the most important question is not what things have we dedicated exclusively for God's purpose, which is good and God honoring to do, but have we surrendered ourselves all of our body, soul, mind, and strength, completely as a holy sacrifice in service and worship of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ?
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1