3 Things every Christian should do for a sanctified life–nothing else
“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”Psalm 77:13 KJV
The best object to learn things about God’s way of salvation is the sanctuary. Strange, isn’t it? Strange since many Christians nowadays do not spend the time to study this topic of sanctuary. They say that it’s only for the Israelites, it is obsolete and thus a waste of time. But the verse above tells us that we, Christians, can learn many things from it.
In our previous article, we learned that those who are saved are the ones who know Jesus’ voice and are consistent on “following Jesus wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4). We also learned that there is a heavenly sanctuary where Jesus is ministering right now as our High Priest (Hebrews 8) and that to fully understand it we need to learn the system of its copy here on earth (earthly sanctuary) as provided by God through the ministry of the Levites (Exodus 25). The sanctuary gives object lessons to teach us God’s way of salvation.
Repenting of sin, confessing, trusting in what Jesus can do in our lives, and being baptized are all important, and take place at the beginning of our Christian life. What to do after that? How to grow as a Christian and have a meaningful life while waiting for Jesus’ soon return?
In this article, we will learn shortly the three must-haves in Christian life as shown in God’s sanctuary in order to grow spiritually and reflect into the character of Jesus. The last is usually the one neglected.
The Outer Court represents justification where repentance, confession, and baptism happen. The Holy Place (or first compartment) where Candlestick, Table of Shewbread, and Altar of Incense are found is where sanctification occurs. The Most Holy Place (second compartment) pictures unhindered access and communion with God which is the culmination of Christian’s experience (glorification) which commence at Jesus’ second coming.
Sanctification is God’s way of making His followers holy fitted to be citizens of the new heavens and new earth. It is a process, a life-long manner, not a one time experience.
The three pieces of furniture found in the Holy Place represents the three must-haves in a Christian experience while waiting for Jesus’ second coming.
1. Studying the Bible continuously (Table of Shewbread)
The Table of Shewbread represents the assimilating of Jesus’ character through the study of the Word of God. Jesus said:
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever…” John 6:51
The twelve pieces of bread for the twelve tribes of Israel represent complete food for the people of God, that there is sufficient spiritual food for everyone.
“This bread is to be set out before the Lord regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant.” Leviticus 24:8
It must be changed to be fresh every Sabbath and stays there every single day. Do you get fresh bread of life each Sabbath and continuously absorbing and digesting spiritual food all throughout the week?
On top of each stack of six loaves is frankincense. Incense represents prayer.
“And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. ” Leviticus 24:7
Reading the Bible must always be accompanied by prayer. This is the way we nourish ourselves for righteousness.
“Also put salt on each of your grain offerings. The salt of God’s promise must never be left out of your grain offerings. Put salt on all your offerings.” Leviticus 2:13
Salt seasons and preserves the food. Likewise, the salted and unleavened bread of life gives hope, peace, encouragement making one’s life a meaningful one. The Word of God makes one wise against temptations and cunning devices of the enemy, preserving his life for eternity.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
If we continually and prayerfully study the Bible we constantly see Jesus and it will surely change us into His character.
2. Have a prayerful life (Altar of Incense)
The Altar of Incense represents prayerful life of a Christian believer. Even though the Altar of Incense is in the Holy Place but its orientation is facing the Most Holy Place with the gap of the curtain wall separating the first and second compartment.
The sweet smelling scent coming from the Altar of incense goes to the Ark of the Covenant where the Mercy Seat is placed. The Mercy Seat in the Book of Revelation is where the throne of God is. Through the ministry of the High Priest, our prayers are welcoming fragrance in the throne of God.
“As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation…”
“In this custom, Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed and to present their requests for needed blessings.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 353, 354)
3. Witnessing: Reflecting Jesus’ light (Golden Lampstand)
Revelation 1:20 says that the Seven Golden Lampstands represent the seven churches, and so the Lampstand or Candlestick as seen in the sanctuary represents God’s Church.
As the Lampstand gives light, this article in the Holy Place represents the giving of light of a Christian to the people surrounding him by reflecting God’s light (i.e. Jesus’ character) through living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus.
The Candlestick needs oil to give light, and oil represents the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 61:1, Acts 10:38, Zechariah 4:6). In the illustration derived from the earthly sanctuary, the high priest needs to continually maintain that the lampstand is with oil all throughout the sanctuary’s existence. When Jesus ascended to heaven God sent the Holy Spirit to minister to the church all throughout its existence in the history until Jesus comes again.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you,” John 16:7
And so a Christian needs the Holy Spirit to accomplish the great commission Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples”. The Holy Spirit will give us power as we witness for Jesus.
This is the most neglected part of sanctification. Many thought that praying and reading the Bible is enough, but no. The ministering to the needs of others and sharing of Jesus are not the work of the pastors, elders and church leaders alone. It is the duty of all who follows Jesus. Witnessing is the responsibility of all who wanted to be sanctified.
The things we learned from praying and reading God’s Word will only be meaningful if we share it to others.
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Thanks to God’s sanctuary, we now have a clearer picture of what we should do as followers of Jesus. The practice of these three is meaningless if not carried out under the ministration of the Holy Spirit.
Reading the Bible is the way we listen to God’s voice, God-to-man. Praying is the way we say our petitions and thanksgiving to God, man-to-God. Witnessing is the way we interact with our fellow humans, man-to-man. These three completes our tasks as Christian which will make us righteous fitted to be citizens of the new heaven and new earth.
(Featured photo from rawpixel.com)