Exodus 19 – Clean Garments

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How do we approach our holy God? Is just showing up all that’s required? Is there some kind of ritual we need to go through?

As Exodus 19 begins, the Israelites were in month three of their escape from Egypt. They were learning, albeit slowly for some, to depend on God. Now they were going to learn a new lesson about their God.

He is holy.

Because He is holy He expects and is worthy of obedience.

All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.

‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel. – Exodus 19:5-6

Moses spoke God’s words to the Israelites, and they responded.

All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. – Exodus 19:8

So far, so good.

Then God commands a separation between Him and His people. No one except Moses could actually touch the mountain on which God would manifest himself. Not only that, they had to wash their garments before they came near the mountain.

Was that really necessary? I’ll ask again. How do we approach our holy God?

Are our garments clean?

This has nothing to do with our actual clothes. It has to do with putting on the garments of righteousness that can come only from Jesus. Many of the rituals in the Old Testament were symbolic of our relationship with God after Jesus came, died for our sins, and was resurrected.

What about a separation between God and His people?

Is that still valid today? Is there still a gap that cannot be crossed? Fortunately that gap has been bridged.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. – 1 Peter 3:18

Being righteous does not mean being perfect. That’s impossible for us humans. Instead, being righteous means God sees us as perfect.

But why would a holy God even want to see us as perfect?

We were created to be in relationship with God. Way back in the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve walked with God. They lived in a perfect environment. They had everything they wanted.

Then sin entered the picture, and everything changed. No more garden of Eden. No more having it all. And sadly, no more walks with God.

But God had a plan to restore that relationship. The seriousness of sin required a serious sacrifice, one that only God Himself could make.

So He sent Jesus, one who had no sin. A defective human being could not be the serious sacrifice God required. Only a perfect one could. Only one who was in fact God Himself.

Jesus provided a bridge for that gap that sin had caused. HisThe death and resurrection opened the way for anyone who wanted to have a “walk in the garden with God” relationship.

What man could not do, God did. The good news is that a relationship with God is available to anyone. The catch is we have to give up trying to launder the garments of our own sinful lives and accept the garments of righteousness only Jesus can provide. Then we can cross that gap.

Salvation is available to one and all. There is no special ritual to accept the righteousness of Christ. It’s a gift, and it’s free. All we have to do is ask. That’s our part. Jesus did all the work.

Where do you stand with God? It’s always been His desire to have a relationship with you. If you think you have to clean up your life first, think again. You cannot get clean enough on your own. Only Jesus has the clean garments you need. Ask Him to forgive all your sins. He will.

Click on “A Walk Through Exodus” on the menu bar for more posts in this series.


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