Partnership With Christ
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the Lord by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the Lord, who makes them holy.’” (Leviticus 21:16-23 NIV)
Leviticus 21-22 consist largely of rules forbidding priests from making offerings to God when they have been ceremonially defiled. These rules give the impression that God is very picky because the priests had to perform the ceremonial offerings to God’s precise instructions, or they may die. These rules applied only to priests, so being a priest wasn’t an easy career at all.
I’m glad this does not apply to us today, even though we are God’s royal priesthood. We may make sacrificial offerings to God even if we have some defects and various kinds of flaws and weaknesses. We can approach God any time we want.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 10:11-18 NIV)
The reason why these rules don’t apply to us today is because it was never God’s intention. It was meant to refer to Jesus who would come later, as the High Priest without defects. We can now approach God any time even with our defects (our sins) “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
This means that anyone of us can do the Lord’s work for His people. We don’t have to feel that we are not good enough because of our defects or being unable to keep up to the physical expectation of holiness described in these chapters. Why? Because we can make our sacrifices with Jesus. Without Jesus in our lives, we cannot perform these sacrificial offerings. ‘Sacrificial offerings’ refer to our work for God and our love for God’s people. God had wanted us, whether it was now or before Jesus came, to do the work of sacrifices together with Him.
I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way – in all your speaking and in all your knowledge – because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9 NIV)
Jesus keeps us strong to the end to ensure we are blameless. God is faithful when He called us into fellowship with Jesus. ‘Fellowship’ can mean our partnership with Christ. Therefore, we do not lack any spiritual gift because Christ is our partner.
I’ve always felt I am not capable enough, be it at work or at church. I am not eloquent. I felt incompetent to meet other’s expectations because I saw only myself in the mirror. But the Bible tells me that it is not me that I should be looking at, but Jesus. He is the one without defects and He can come to make the offerings anytime.
By Jesus’ one time sacrifice, we are now perfect, forever. It does not mean that I am perfect individually. I still sin and I’m not blameless in the world’s eyes; but in God’s eyes I have been made perfect. People need to see that our perfection comes from our confidence in Jesus. He has made us perfect in his grace. Though we must be transformed and bear the fruits of the Spirit to glorify God, it is not because of our own training or efforts to change that have made us perfect. I can be in partnership with Christ to lead the life that God desires me to live.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.