While we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.(Titus 2:13-14)
This week, following the theme of Priesthood, we’re gonna be looking at what it truly means for Jesus Christ to be our High Priest, our Mediator and Intercessor! There’s some radical, controversial, yet sweet truth the Holy Spirit is showing us here, so let’s roll!
Jesus’ next section of His Kingdom sermon deals with His disciples imitating God’s love for them by doing to others what they would like for themselves, AKA “the Golden Rule.” Hypocritical judgment, pointing out someone’s flaws at the neglect of their own, is a prime example of an area where this teaching should be applied! In the middle of all this, Jesus says something strange: don’t waste your time throwing your invaluable pearls before pigs, what’s holy before dogs, or else their disregard for those valuable things turns into violent opposition. In other words, Jesus is telling His disciples that, in the midst of imitating God’s loving kindness towards others, they should be wise about not wasting their time giving invaluable, holy things (i.e. His teachings, the Gospel) to those who have no regard for them!
Here’s a super cool fun fact you may or may not know: If Jesus is the King of your life, and you believe that His death and resurrection save you from your sin, the Holy Spirit now permanently lives within you. Yup, you heard me right, you are the new Temple where God dwells! God has always desired to live among His people: originally in the Garden of Eden, then in the Tabernacle, then in the Temple, and ultimately in His Son Jesus Christ, who is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23)(John 1:18) But now, all who have faith in Jesus as the Son of God are made into His new living Temple, because His Spirit comes and makes His home in us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)(2 Corinthians 6:16). That is such an amazing truth when you stop and think about it! The same way fire and wind came when God’s Presence dwelled in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35) and the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-2), rushing wind and tongues of fire came when the Holy Spirit came and took up residence in His disciples at Pentecost! (Acts 2)
With this awesome truth comes the responsibility to be holy; God’s Presence is holy, therefore His dwelling place must be holy! Paul highlights this when he writes to the Corinthians, saying that because we are the Temple of the living God, we should strive to perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 6:16, 7:1). Now, I have good news and bad news: the bad news is that we have sinful natures, so it’s impossible for us to meet God’s standard of perfect holiness. The good news is that our Advocate, Jesus the Son of God, has already fixed the problem by taking our sin and giving us His holiness (2 Cor. 5:21)! And not only are we declared holy before God, but He’s working in us day-by-day to help us grow in living holy lives through the Spirit. But the Lord doesn’t want us to be naive. He taught His followers that they were lambs sent out among wolves; the world is not striving for holiness, and will not make it easy for us, either. We need to be loving and gracious, but wise and street-smart as we try to live holy lives in our unholy world.
- As the Temple of God’s Spirit, we’re called to pursue holiness (being set apart from the world). It’s only by the grace and mercy of our Advocate, the Messiah, that we’ve been declared holy, and are being made holy more and more everyday. So let’s push to live set apart lives, knowing that Jesus has already finished the work, and is bringing that to life in us! And as we love and witness to the world, we should be wise, fully aware of the world’s sinful nature.
Behold, I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.(Matthew 10:16)