“You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.”
Imagine if your house was on fire and you didn’t have a fire station nearby with on-call firefighters ready to help. Imagine if you had a medical emergency but there wasn’t a hospital nearby with dedicated doctors who could take you in. Imagine if you were low on food and there was no grocery store full of bakers and butchers and clerks to stock the shelves. Imagine you saw thieves robbing a bank or burning down convenience stores and there were no police officers you could call for aid. That would all be very bad, but now imagine that you drove for hours down every possible road and you couldn’t find a single church. That would be far worse, wouldn’t it? Because if there isn’t a distinct place in a community where people can go to receive divine instruction, a place where devoted priests distinguish between the holy and the common, the clean and the unclean, the good and the bad, the virtuous and the vicious, the beautiful and the ugly, the divine and the demonic, then society will be a ghost town in a darkest sense. A town of soulless men.
The local church is everything for modern man, just as this tabernacle was everything for ancient men. She’s a police station, condemning wrongdoing and taking down the spiritual forces of darkness. She’s a fire station, rescuing sinners from complete destruction. She’s a grocery store, feeding hungry souls with the Bread and Wine of Christ’s covenant. She’s a hospital, leading the wounded and weary to the Great Physician. She’s all these and more! And if a Supreme Court decides tomorrow that abortion is a women’s rights issue, the local church will be there to preach the sanctity of life. And if a congress mandates that certain speech is forbidden, the local church will keep telling the truth in love. And if state legislatures decide that marriage between two men is a civil good, the local church will continue to preach that such an act is no marriage at all, but a compromise.
To distinguish! That’s our distinguished commission from Almighty God! Never forget it.