Ezekiel 44:15, 23“But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood,” declares the Sovereign LORD.  “… They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

Because of God’s amazing grace to us in Christ, we can come directly into his presence in prayer and fellowship without any need for a priest to intercede for us or animal sacrifice to atone for our sins.  God accepts Christ’s blood shed for us on the cross as the ONLY perfect sacrifice to cover ALL our sins (past, present and future) (Hebrews 8:14-125).  Yes, we have free and ready access to a holy and omnipotent God because of HIS great love and mercy!

Nevertheless, our relationship with him in Christ should also affect every part and every area of our lives.  Christians, especially today, too often make the mistake of internalising and privatising their faith as if it had nothing to do with their work or their social life and recreational activities, or even their family life.  But Christ is Lord over ALL Creation, and he must be acknowledged and served as LORD of the WHOLE of our lives – affecting the way we understand all our relationships, and how we interpret and respond to the God-denying, humanistic culture in which we live.

However, having said this, we need to be careful not to make the other mistake Israel made.  They reduced their theology to secular humanism instead of appreciating the vast difference between the two.  Their teachers began with man’s wisdom and forced ‘God’ into this pattern of thinking.  Their religion had to conform with a lifestyle and worldview they felt comfortable with; and this meant that they had little time for what God was revealing to them through the prophets, his divinely appointed mouthpieces.  Do WE need to devote more time to reading our Bibles, and less to looking at our screens or reading our newspapers?

Ezekiel was commissioned to challenge this pattern of thinking for the post-Exilic Jews.  We need to challenge our own generation to take God’s revealed truth in the Scriptures seriously by the renewing of our minds, and not to allow ourselves, even unthinkingly, to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:1-2) because of the very subtle and infectious pressure of our culture that bombards us on a daily (hourly?) basis.
– Bruce Christian