The Glorious Freedom of Sunday Worship (Leviticus 16:1-4; Ephesians 3:11-12)

Leviticus 16:1-4

1 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died, 2 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. 3 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. 4 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.

Ephesians 3:11-12

11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

There is a striking difference between myself and Aaron the high priest. In Leviticus 16, God gave Aaron some specific instructions about standing before him. Aaron was not allowed to go to the holiest place just whenever he wanted. Aaron was not allowed to formally worship God in the highest way whenever he felt the urge. In fact, Aaron heard very clearly that, should he wander into God’s presence in the wrong way or at the wrong time, he, like his sons, Nadab and Abihu, would die.

What were the standards for Aaron to meet with God in the holy place? Aaron had to take a special bath. He had to put on special clothes. He had to bring the right offerings for himself, his family, and also the nation. Aaron had to walk with fear into the presence of God, all the while staying behind the blood and the smoke of the incense in order not to die for being in the midst of God’s holiness.

Now, contrast Aaron with what God says to his children in Ephesians 3:12. We may now approach God and have access to him with confidence. We may boldly approach him. This is not to say that we should not be reverent. This is not to say that we should treat this as a flippant thing. But it is to say that we no longer need the special bath and we certainly do not need the blood of any bull or ram. No, Christ’s blood now permanently covers the children of God, and we can approach God with confidence because of what Jesus has done.

This thought is good news on any day. But today, I want to ponder this thought in relation to Sunday. It is early Sunday morning in my house, and I’m spending time with God before heading to the church building to practice music and to preach God’s word to his people. Right now, in the place where I sit, I am preparing to exercise the privilege of Ephesians 3:12. Not only can I approach God in my quiet corner of the house to pray, there is something more. I can go together with the people of God, sing the praises of God, hear the word, the very voice of God, and be changed by God. I need not bring any blood. The blood that was required for me to be made holy enough to worship God was shed by the Lord Jesus on the cross, once for all. Now the way is made open for me to meet with God, not once a year, not cowering behind the blood of animal sacrifices, but with boldness and confidence because of the glorious work of the Lord Jesus.

This thought affects my heart in many ways, but one that immediately comes to mind is the impact that it has on how I think about worship. What a privilege it is! What a joy it is! I can go and sing of my Redeemer. I can go and hear is word. I can go and give to him my tithe and offering. I can go and pray to him with others. I can go and experience him in a special way. Why would I not love Sundays? This is the best day of the week. I can approach God. I can worship him with others. And, because of Jesus, I can do so freely and confidently.