Descriptions of the Holy of Holies strike fear in my heart. Leviticus 16:1-5 describes the work a priest would have to go through in order to enter into the presence of God and not be killed. Scripture says,
The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died, and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.”
The holiness of God required absolute purity from all who would enter into his presence. And so powerful was God’s presence that it killed the two sons of Aaron, the high priest. When I picture the terrifying, powerful presence of my God as told in the Old Testament, my heart is filled with reverence and awe. How could this holy God love me, a broken and helpless sinner? How could I come before God and enter into his presence when his holiness requires such purity?
But Hebrews 9:11-12 says,
When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
Our high priest entered into the holy places on our behalf and secured safe passage for us all to enter into God’s presence. Hebrews 10:19-22 describes this powerful truth in saying,
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
What’s more, through the death of Jesus, God is now able to flood the earth with his presence. Christ defeated the power of sin and death and made the way for you and me to be the new temple of God’s holy, powerful presence. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 states, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” Later, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
The question before you today is this: are you experiencing the fullness of what has been made available to you through Christ? Are you experiencing the power and nearness of the God who has made his temple within you? Are you living out of the holiness of the very Spirit who dwells within you and has made you a righteous new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Corinthians 5:21)?
1 Corinthians 6:20 commands us to “glorify God in [our] body” as a response to being filled with the presence of God through the work of our high priest, Jesus Christ. It’s in living our life out of the inner working of the Holy Spirit that we begin to experience all that God intends for us. We must first acknowledge that the very presence of God who dwelled within the Holy of Holies and was so powerful that it killed men now dwells within us. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives within us. And in acknowledging the reality of God’s presence in our lives we must begin to realign our lives with the will of the Spirit. We must react to God’s grace with our obedience. So great was God’s desire to provide you with an abundant life in him that he sent Jesus as the final, perfect sacrifice. The fact that you are now the temple of the Holy Spirit means that you have God himself to guide you, love you, fill you, heal you, and deliver you. You have access to a more real and intimate relationship with your heavenly Father than you can fathom.
Spend time in prayer acknowledging the presence of God within you and responding to his presence with humility and trust. Allow the Spirit to transform you in his presence and guide you into who you were created to be. May you encounter the power of the God who loves you too much to allow you to lead a life apart from his holy and loving presence.