Throughout the Old Testament it is made clear that if someone desired to enter into the presence of God there were certain ritual steps that must first be followed. Often this involved setting the individual apart for a specified number of days, ritually washing their bodies and garments with purifying water, and removing any trace of any matter which might defile the holy temple of God. These ceremonies were typically complex and were very specific. Approaching God was a serious business.
So, why is this not the case now? Why do we not have to wash ourselves ceremonially before entering our church buildings? Why are certain garments not required to worship God? How can we meet with God in these places without making ourselves holy first? Is this a lack of reverence on our part?
To begin, even though our church buildings are set apart as a meeting place for God’s people, they are not the church. They are the places we choose to gather to worship God, but there is nothing inherently holy about the bricks, mortar, wood, and materials holding them together. To put a finer point on it, our church buildings are not the modern equivalent of the temple. Rather, the temple of God is the people of God. Paul writes, “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you” (1 Cor. 6:19).
As believers we are constantly in the presence of God, because He has chosen to make His home in our hearts; therefore, we do not need to prepare ourselves to enter into His presence because we are already in it. Further, the law, including all the ceremonial washings, etc., was put in place to demonstrate our inability to fix our fundamental sin problem. There was no way for us to succeed in saving ourselves by keeping the law. We needed a savior. This is why Jesus came—to do for us what we could not do for ourselves through ritualistic law keeping. We are reconciled to God through the righteousness we receive through Christ. This is why we can approach His throne boldly without physical washings and ceremonies (see Hebrews 4: 14-16).
Even though we no longer need to concern ourselves with physical washings and proper garments, there is something we can learn from these ceremonies which still applies to our worship. Approaching God is still a serious business. The only reason we are able to stand in His presence so freely is because of the grace and mercy we have received through Jesus. This realization should stir within us love and adoration towards our God, and in turn spur us on to love one another, and to share this great love with those with whom we come in contact. We should still have a healthy fear and awe regarding our great God, and worship Him knowing that we are new creatures in Christ; made forever holy by our faith in His great work on our behalf.
News for July:
Don’t forget to sign up for our annual ROSBC’s Got Talent Show. This is your opportunity to show your ROSBC family those hidden talents that few people know about. Whether it’s singing, dancing, comedy routines, juggling, illusions, acrobatics, speed eating, or…you get the idea, we want to see it. The show is scheduled for Sunday evening, July 24th and you can sign up in the connection center starting July 3rd. Acts need not be “explicitly Christian” (you can sing or dance to a song that we might not use in worship for example) but should be “God-honoring” in content. See Jonathan if you have any questions.
We will be joined by guest musician Bruce Wimberley on Sunday morning July 10th. Bruce is local to our community and is a very talented singer/songwriter/ instrumentalist. He will be bringing his saxophone and will join our worship team in leading worship. Look forward to this special time together.
As always, it’s a joy to lead worship and serve alongside each of you.
In His Service,