Eastside Baptist Church
"Be Holy as I Am Holy" (Ch. 18); "In God's Courtroom" (Ch. 19); "A Tumultuous Interlude" (Ch. 20)
- Created to Draw Near: Our Life as God’s Royal Priests by Edward T. Welch“Be Holy as I Am Holy” (Chapter 18)Everything about God is Holy.3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”God’s holiness is expanding and drawing us in to be holy as he is holy.2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.The way of holiness is obedience.Obedience, however, is a means to an end.Obedience serves the purpose of our communion with him.Think of “progressive sanctification” as “progressive nearness.”Sin separates, but holiness draws us close.“Sin separates, even after we are made holy. When we turn from sin, we turn back to the light and life, and we experience fellowship with a clear conscience.” - Edward Welch9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.“Somehow, through his Spirit, we actually become ‘partakers of the divine nature,’ which is very close. Progressive nearness makes this growth and change increasingly beautiful, satisfying, and attractive.” - Edward Welch“In God’s Courtroom” (Chapter 19)We are consecrated by God and made holy.Then we grow in holiness.But our sins and imperfections remain with us. We are always dirty.How do we serve as priests before a holy God if we are imperfect and dirty?Israel’s PriestsThey too were imperfect, but they served in God’s house.They were ceremonially cleansed and declared officially clean.“No priest ever rested in his own perfections. He rested in God’s mercy and the confidence that the one who invites less-than-clean people to live with him is the one who figures out how that will happen.” - Edward WelchZechariah’s Vision1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”“But the judge reveals that he is not only a judge. He is also the advocate who comes to our defense. Even more, he is our advocate-defender-sacrifice-beautifier who will take upon himself the burden of qualifying his people to be with him.” - Edward Welch“All eyes are on Jesus. He does all this himself. We witness his work... For his namesake, not because of our inherent worth or capacity, he forgives and cleanses us.” - Edward Welch5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord.“In this vision the character of the Lord is on fuller display. He is not torn between loving people and consuming them in his anger. Instead, he has determined that we be with him, and he is always inclined to wash and forgive those who turn to him. Following Zechariah’s lead, we are emboldened to come near.” - Edward Welch“Yet we are witnessing something even deeper. This beautifying means that we begin to look more and more like God himself as we are being refashioned into his image. Communion is best when we share a likeness. We are becoming truly human, remade in the image of our Father and Creator.” - Edward Welch“A Tumultuous Interlude” (Chapter 20)“The fortunes of the priests and the temple were bound together. As one went, so went the other.” - Edward WelchProblems began as soon as the Temple was completed by Solomon:Solomon spent more time and expense on his own house than he did on the Lord’s.Solomon had a foreigner oversee the work, and this foreigner was paid with Israelite cities.Solomon forced Hebrews into labor, which sounds peculiarly like the old Egyptian overlords.Solomon took liberties with furniture dimensions and materials, which bent the tabernacle toward the pagan temples of that day.“If you look closely, the story tends toward entropy. God’s presence is less intense, less concentrated. The glory and presence of the Lord rested on the new temple (1 Kings 8:10–11; 2 Chron. 7:1–3), but idol worship, tacitly approved by Solomon, was followed by civil war and a divided kingdom.” - Edward WelchPropensity for idolatryTolerance of corruption and injusticeEventual destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BC.“When the Babylonians entered the Most Holy Place, there was no cloud of the presence, and the presence of God would not inhabit the Jerusalem temple again.” - Edward WelchPermission to rebuild by CyrusInitial success then oppositionApathy and selfishness left the 2nd temple unfinished for 10 years.Haggai and Zechariah moved the people to finish the temple.Jerusalem and its temple were under foreign rule for many generations to come.Fought over by empires to the north and south.Blasphemed and contaminated by Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BC).Judah Maccabee recaptured Jerusalem for the Hebrews and reconsecrated the temple (164 BC), remembered at Hanukkah.Greek and Roman influence turned the high priesthood into a political position and polluted its purpose.Herod the Great arose out of this tumultuous history.Master builderBeautified and expanded the templePriests and Levites rotated through the temple duties, and the nations gathered there.Yet, within there was spiritual decay, and its Most Holy Place was empty.Also ordered the death of infant sons to protect his throne from Jesus, the coming Messiah.Setup for the New Testament period:Synagogues appeared.Priests were spiritually unreliable.Priests were more interested in maintaining Jewish identity than discerning sin and being a light to the world.“In all this, there was reason for hope. The Lord still made appearances in his sanctuary (Luke 1:11)—he was never dependent on the presence of the ark… If we notice anything in this history, we see that the Lord is accustomed to entering into very messy situations in which he is uninvited but still faithful to his promises.” - Edward Welch
1 Peter 2:9NIV2011
2 Peter 1:4NIV2011
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