I grew up in the deep South in the 70’s and 80’s. We grew up going to church where ordained ministers would hold services on Sundays. Perhaps it was only me, but I saw this as holy men performing holy services on holy days in holy places.
As I’ve continued to study Scripture, I see that my understanding while I was growing up is much closer to the Old Testament than to the New Testament. But, what’s the problem with that? The Old Testament is Scripture too, right?
Yes, but when it comes to things like the temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the Sabbath, and other aspects of life as the people of God in the New Testament, the New Testament tells us that these things are shadows of reality, and not reality themselves.
In other words, these things were all intended to point to something else, something bigger, something better. In fact, all of these things point forward to Christ, who fulfilled the whole law and became the better temple, high priest, sacrifice, and Sabbath.
Given my background, it is easy to switch back to thinking that there are holy days on which holy men do holy things in holy places. But, when this begins to cloud my understanding, I live in the shadows and not the reality of Christ. In Christ, all of God’s children are holy people; every day is a holy day; all opportunities to serve are holy offerings; and any place we are is a holy place, because we are the temple in which God dwells.
When do we live in the shadows? When we find ourselves asking questions like these: Should you do that on Sunday? Is there an ordained minister available to do that? Should they be doing that in the church [building]? Why is that person preaching [or teaching, or baptizing, or serving the Lord's Supper]?
These questions indicate a shift back into the shadowy thinking of the Old Testament. Today, in Christ, we have the realities available to us; we do not need the shadows.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I've been thinking for a few weeks about what I consider to be an important post. My friend Alan Knox, in his post Living in the Shadows, discusses our tendency to revert back to O.T. practices in the N.T. church. Alan stresses that the O.T. practices and patterns are simply shadows of the greater reality to come in Jesus Christ. I consider Alan's post important because it has direct application for many of our church practices today. I previously linked to his post, and I've copied the entire thing below. Enjoy and be challenged: