Life in the Spirit

Separate the Holy from the Profane

Some one once wrote to me and said, “I believe that communion should not be a hidden private exercise for the church, as Christ died publicly on a wooden pole for all. There was nothing private about his death. His sacrificial death was a public event for both believers and non believers alike. It is the heart that is consecrated to God when one takes communion and who knows the heart better than God?
I am sure that this is not an isolated case, and that there may be many more who shares similar sentiments.
Nevertheless, a thorough study and a good understanding of the word of God will reveal that communion in retrospect is God’s food, his bread, the real food as alluded to by Jesus Christ who said, “For my flesh is (real, true) food indeed” and my blood is (real, true) drink indeed” (Jn.6:55).
It is unequivocally clear that definitely “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the table of the Lord and the table of demons: Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (1Cor.10:21-22). Therefore there must be a clear distinction between the clean and the unclean, between the holy and the profane.
Communion is God’s real food. The burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament were basically a copy or a symbol of this reality as alluded to by the apostle Paul who wrote; “Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these”(Heb.9:23).
It is therefore imperative that God’s people, do not loose sight of the rationale and objective of this all important offering.
It is primarily God’s food, his sweet smelling aroma, in the sense that, it is the one and only sacrifice that satisfies and fulfills his will, as stated by Jesus Christ when he came into the world and said, “Sacrifice and offerings, burnt offerings and offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then he said; “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.” He takes away the first that he may establish the second.’ By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:8-10).
The objective of this offering is to clear the conscience and make those who appear before God to worship perfect. If the animal sacrifices were able to achieve this objective, “They would not have ceased to be offered” (Heb.9:9; 10:1-2).
The rationale behind the ordained time of worship is to proclaim God’s love in the morning and his faithfulness in the evening, and his Lordship on the Weekly Sabbath, and on the annual Festivals. For it is written; “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” And, “Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary, I am the Lord” (Ps.92:1-2; Lev.19:30; 26:2).
Since the objective of this offering is to present the worshiper holy, perfect, blameless, with a free conscience, and irreproachable in the sight of God, one who is unprepared and unwilling to attain this spiritual condition should not be a part of this worship.
What therefore separates the holy from the profane?
Some people really get offended with the concept of separating the clean from the unclean, but what is the rationale for the separation?
Some people assume that since the death of Christ was a public event for both believers and unbelievers, there should not be any distinction.
The reality is, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” The good news is both believers and unbelievers are in Christ Jesus, for in him we (believers and unbelievers) live and move and have our existence. He is the vine, and we are all the branches. He suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (Acts 17:28; Jn.15:5; 1Pet.3:18).
The sad news however is, it is not all who are in Christ Jesus that are free from condemnation. It is only those who choose not to walk according to the flesh, and choose to walk according to the Spirit that is free from condemnation. (Rom.8:1-2).
What liberates an individual from the law of sin and death and frees him/her from condemnation is his/her enslavement to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. For, “Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” And, “Now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom.6:18, 22).
The cause of alienation is not church doctrine, or a set of hard rules, but simply a choice and readiness to receive forgiveness and cleansing, or not. For as the scriptures says; “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.’ And, ‘If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1Jn.1:8, 10).
The alienation comes as a result of the choice one makes to walk in darkness, in accordance to the flesh, and not prepared and willing to receive forgiveness for their sins. For, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
On the other hand, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ (which is taken during the fellowship service) cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn.1:5-7).
The willingness to be forgiven of sin must also prevail, and therefore, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn.1:9).
Therefore, what separates the clean from the unclean, and the holy from the profane is the individual’s unwillingness to walk in the light, in the Spirit, and come to seek forgiveness and cleansing for sin.
The process of sanctification which follows the free gift of justification by God’s grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus is an active, practical process. It is not a matter of having good intentions, because the way to hell is paved with good intentions.
According to the prophet Jeremiah, “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my name, and say, we are safe – safe to do all these detestable things? Has the house which bears my Name become a den of thieves to you? But I have been watching declares the Lord” (Jer.7:9-11).
Today, the house which bears the name of the Lord is not an erected building build with men’s hands, but in those in whom the Spirit of God dwells. And for this reason the Lord says; “What agreement has the temple of God with idols (those who idolize themselves, and place themselves before God). For you are the temple of the living God as God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2Cor.6:16-18).
The ordinance of communion is not simply a commemoration to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ, but it is also the new and living way by which we now draw near to God, as alluded to by the apostle who wrote; “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb.10:19-22).
If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.
With brotherly love
Lucius Joseph
Essentials of Life Ministry Inc.

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