Thursday, April 23, 2015

Temple Sanctification

Some people think the LDS Temple is wrong or even mean to exclude people from entrance based upon certain criteria of inward purity.  According to these critics, the OT Temple was exclusionary, but the NT church is supposed to be inclusive.  All of us are sinful and we all fall short of the glory of God. So, if we all fall short and rely upon the grace of Jesus Christ the same, why have arbitrary criteria for entrance into theTemple and approaching the thrown of God?  Didn't Christ tear down the veil of the Temple?  Shouldn't it be enough to confess Christ alone without any expectations; No repentance, no inward purity, no fruits, no works?

Jesus accepts us how and where we are, and through His grace empowers our sanctification if we accept Him. The sanctification is necessary to enter into the presence of the Father.  Because while God the Son, mercifully, spends time with publicans and sinners (you and me), God the Father dwells in perfection.  All of us will eventually have to reach that state of perfection to enjoy the fellowship of the Father, which we cannot reach in this life but only after the resurrection.

But, while the resurrection will do away with the natural man, it will not make us a different person. Consequently, many may not choose to dwell in the presence of God because for whatever reason, they really don't like the same music or the same activities. They will not find joy in it.  There are mansions in heaven for all according to our desires.  Again, our attitudes may mean that some may not want to live there. Accordingly, we need to begin, at least, to cultivate the right attitude.  Some basic righteous works manifest this right attitude so we are not deluding ourselves.

You do NOT need to be perfect to enter into the LDS Temple, but you do have to live up to a standard given in scripture that demonstrates the fruit of faith in Christ.  Hopefully, as you continue in spiritual service to Christ, the power and grace of sanctification, in us, is magnified.  Through this magnified grace in the Temple, we are better filled with His spirit which transforms, purifies, and refines our attitudes, continence and affections so that when he appears, we will "love His appearing".

In the LDS Temple you covenant to live the commandments of obedience, sacrifice, chastity and consecration.  Does it really make sense to make promises that you are not intending to keep?

Why would God require such commitments?  Because it will take servants with a greater spiritual cleanliness (not perfection) to build His kingdom and eventually to enter into the presence of the Father.  Someone who makes greater use of Christ's grace.

Also, for those who attend the temple can testify. God's spirit is there, and it works in our lives.  So, why criticize what works? Who wouldn't want greater sanctification?  Who would not wish to make greater use of Christ's grace in their life?

However, when it comes to being exclusionary, with regard to the LDS Temple; are the LDS just being mean by making people believe they cannot with full confidence approach the thrown of God as they are? Was Paul being mean when he said the following?

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (New Testament, Ephesians 5:5-7)

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. .... But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 5:11;13)

Is Paul is being exclusionary or just making vain lists?

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. (Old Testament, Isaiah 52:11)

Is there a higher standard of inward purity for Gods servants who serve to build His kingdom just like the Priests who served in the OT Temple had to satisfy higher standards of outward purity?

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Old Testament, Malachi, Malachi 3:3)

When Christ will "suddenly" come to His temple in the latter-days,  Malachi tells us the purpose of the temple is to sanctify.  Paul in Hebrews reminds us that the OT temple and the Levitical priesthood did not sanctify or perfect because it was primarily concerned with outward purity.  But the NT Temple is concerned with inward purity.

And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. (Old Testament, Ezekiel, Ezekiel 37:28)

Again, Ezekiel teaches that the Latter-day Temple will sanctify and purify Israel.  This is a significant purpose of the Latter-day temple because the purpose of OT temple was not to sanctify but point to our need of a Savior and the need of inward sanctification and holiness.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Old Testament, Isaiah, Isaiah 2:2-4)

Isaiah also teaches us the purpose of the Latter-day temple and its result on the world.  Learning of Gods ways and even necessary judgement and rebuke will bring peace on Earth.  Is Isaiah being mean when he takes about judging nations and rebuking peoples? Is Isaiah talking about a different God?

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (New Testament, Revelation, Revelation 3:19-21)

Nope! John in revelations also tells us that there still is a place in Christ's gospel for rebuke and chastening and admonishes the Saints to repent and be zealous.  John even admonishes the Saints to beware not to be Lukewarm or God would spew them out of His mouth.  While there is a place for the pleasing word of God, there is also a place for reproof. 

In conclusion, Jesus Christ did not tear down the veil of the temple.  Instead, the Bible says a that a partition was made. And through the sanctifying grace of Christ, mankind can inwardly purify ourselves and approach the thrown of God and even sit in Christ's thrown with Him.  It is not the purity standards of Christ's Holy House that are being exclusive or trying to be mean. While the OT Temple did segregate people, the Latter-day temple invites all to enter into Gods presence, black and white, bond and free, male and female, both Jew and Gentile.  It is only through our choosen disobedience that we exclude ourselves.

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