Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Crucified Yet Living Temple

Ezekiel’s temple shows us the nature of eternal life and of being the body of Christ. The temple bears the mark of the cross, a cross formed by the outer and inner gates which lead to the altar at the temple’s center. Living water flows from the Holy of Holies, where the glory of God dwells. We who are the temple and body of Christ have been crucified with Christ and bear the marks of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 2:20, 6:17). It is by the marks of the cross that Jesus is identified. Jesus’s disciples knew Him by these marks after His resurrection, and we who are raised with Him are now the body that carries this identifying characteristic. It is the mark of the cross, applied by the work of the Spirit in our lives, that shows we belong to Christ, not our confession of Christianity or our attendance at church. We have been raised with Him by the glory of the Father, and rivers of living water flow from our innermost being (Rom. 6:4; John 7:38, 39).
This is eternal life: being crucified and raised with Christ, being the temple in which the death and life of Jesus are revealed (2 Cor. 4:10, 11). Ezekiel’s temple also shows us that because death works in us, life works in others—the river flowing from the temple flows into the Dead Sea, and wherever it flows things live (Ezek. 47:8, 9; 2 Cor. 4:12).
The reality of Ezekiel’s temple must affect us deeply. It must be more than a mere teaching or idea, it must be more than theology. Jesus is not our collection of religious practices, beliefs, morality, and worldview. He is a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). He doesn’t want us to obey Him merely. He wants us to be His dwelling place. He doesn’t want servants who are unaware of His business but friends who share His business of laying down His life for His friends (John 15:12-15). Unless we understand and are about His business, there will be no life flowing from us into the sea of dead people around us. We cannot substitute evangelistic programs or missions campaigns for life. The difference is preaching the word versus people being able to see, hear, and touch the Word in us (1 John 1:1). The Holy Spirit must open our eyes to these things, and He must transform us according to the vision of Christ Ezekiel presents. As we are increasingly apprehended by the truth, there is no response but to cast our independent lives away in order to take our place in the temple which is crucified yet lives.

1 comment:

Bryan Halferty said...

Thanks Teague, refreshing, in a non-cliche sense.