The Sanctification of our Good Works

Belgic Confession Article 24: Of man’s Sanctification and Good Works.

We believe that this true faith being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God, and the operation of the Holy Ghost, doth regenerate and make him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin….(this) faith worketh by love,  to the practice of those works, which God has commanded in his Word. Which works, as they proceed from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, forasmuch as they are all sanctified by his grace: howbeit they are of no account towards our justification. For it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works; (and) we do good works, not to merit by them, (for what can they merit?) nay, we are beholden to God for the good works we do, and not he to us, since it is he that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure; for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; (were it not for the grace of Christ one sin would be sufficient to make God reject all our good works thus we only rely) on the merits of the suffering and death of our Saviour.

A.W.Pink in his studies 1946 is excellent:

“God’s acceptance of our services”-our obedience and worship. We realise that our works even as a regenerate man are defective and defiled. Even though wrought by the Holy Spirit they are performed by us…even the purest water is fouled as it passes through a soiled pipe! Check what the Scripture says concerning Abel, “the Lord had respect unto Abel AND to his offering.”(Gen.4:4). First the worshipper is accepted and then his worship.

Pink then draws our attention to the golden plate atop the High Priest’s mitre. The inscription, “Holiness to the Lord” was worn that he might “bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” (Ex.28:36-38). Christ our great high priest bore the defects of our holy things and because of his holiness God accepts from us whatever is sincere. The sinful failings of our best actions are hid and covered and our sincere obedience and reverent worship ascends to God perfumed with the merits of Christ (Rev. 8:3). Thus it is “by him”  that we offer the sacrifice of praise to God (Heb.13:15) and our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5).



The Burnt Offering

  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; It shall never go out.
Leviticus 6:13
The burnt offering, offered morning and evening, and the continually burning fire on the altar typify the utter consecration of our Lord Jesus Christ to the will of his father. It also represents our consecration to God.
    “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. ” Ephesians 5:2.
  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ” Romans 12:1
John the Baptist was a great example, described as:
   “a burning and a shining light. ”  John 5:35 .
“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offering s and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33
  “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”        Romans 15:16
   “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  See Hebrews 10:6-10
    For presbyterians, the burning bush is their symbol, aflame yet unconsumed (by persecution).
   I trust you are committed body and soul to the service of your Lord.

Covenant Consecration (22)

Consecration of Levites (last meeting)

Final write up

Sung Psalm 134

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

Note that verse 21 endorses God’s irresistible grace in calling us Gentiles to be the New Testament equivalent of Old Testament Levites. Levites and priests saved in the New Testament included Barnabas (Acts 6:7, 4:36) among others. The most infamous was the Levite who passed by the wounded man on the Jericho road (Luke 10:32). Verse 22 indicates the permanence of this calling showing that it does not refer to some millennium but rather to the New Testament age and into the new heavens and earth.

There are three “worlds” or ages described in Scripture:

  1. The pre-diluvian
  2. The post-diluvian
  3. The new heavens and earth

The final verses in this chapter (vv. 23,24) describe the eternal state (II Peter 3:13, Is.65:17, Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:44,45).  Is.65:20 is describing eternal life in the re-creation which takes place after Christ returns and we see Romans 9:21 and Rev.21:1-3 played out, not in the annihilation of the cosmos but it’s recreation and redemption just as in our own lives. All believers are the seed spoken of, whether Jew or Gentile-they are the seed of Christ (Is.53:12) and Abraham (Gal.3:28,29)-the true Jews or Israel. Jer. 33:17-21 is fulfilled in Christ and the church.

Levi means “joined” (Gen.29:34, Num.18:2,4)-the priests and Levites were joined, Jew and Gentile are now joined and all believing are joined to Christ.

These verse do not refer to keeping the ceremonial law which when done even formally, but without faith, were to God an abomination (Is.1:13) but rather to continual worship in glory where we shall confirm God’s righteous judgment of all men which includes the eternal awful destruction of the wicked in bodies fitted to eternal punishment.

Consecration of Levites (17)

Consecration of the Levites

Sung Psalm 135:14-21 (note Levi)

Read Numbers 8:5-22

The consecration of these warrior-priests included:

  • Cleansing
  1. Cleansing-sprinkling of water (? From laver or Lev.14)
  2. Shaving most of body of hair.
  3. Washing of clothes
  • Sacrifices-two bullocks (sin and burnt offerings), and meal offering
  • No special clothes
  • Laying on of hands (of representatives of all the congregation whom they represented).
  • Wave offering (of all of them)

Comparing their consecration to that of the priests, with the priests there were more sacrifices, special clothes etc and with that of the congregation there was a different sprinkling and the book of the covenant was involved. Theologians speak of a graded holiness with High Priest top (multi-coloured vestments), then priests (white linen garments), then Levites (own clothes) then people, then outsiders. This also is reflected in the graded access they had to holy places and things.

But every New Testament believer whether Jew or Gentile is a priest AND a Levite-set apart, belonging to God and called to serve in his church (Mal. 3:3, Isaiah 66:21).



New Testament Priests (16)

New Testament Priesthood

Sung Psalm 141|:1-5 (note refs to incense)

Reading I Peter 2:1-10 (note esp.vv5,9)

We have incontrovertible Scriptural evidence that all believers in the New Testament age are priests.

What was the work of Old Testament priests? What is the New Testament equivalent?

  1. Offered sacrifices……we offer ourselves, praise, thank, do good works, share (Heb.13:15).
  2. Offered incense……we pray for ourselves and others.
  3. Light the lamp………walk in the Spirit.
  4. Prepare the showbread and eat it……we partake of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
  5. Teach………we teach one another.
  6. Pronounce clean/unclean……we discern between good and evil.
  7. Judge……we judge all things.

Hebrews 10:19-25 is the most extended teaching on our New Testament priesthood, full of typology now realised in us.

The major prophets clearly allude to the end of ceremonial law and the New Testament age, see Isaiah 61:6 where true believers who are in Christ (vv1-3) are made priests and this includes Gentiles (Is.66:21).

Malachi 3:3 speaks of Christ purifying a priesthood which must be his church and I John 2:2 and 20 show that our anointing as priests is lifelong.

The permanent offices in the New Testament church all include elements of priesthood-pastors teach (office of prophet), elders rule (office of king) and deacons (office of priest who mercifully dispense aid), (Heb. 2:17, Acts 6)

Consecration of Israel (8)


Sung Psalm 50:1-6

Reading I Peter 1:1-16

Reading Exodus 19 and 24 alongside I Peter 2:9 we see great similarities. In both passages God’s people are called:

1) Peculiar treasure (v5)

2) Kingdom of priests (v6)

3) Holy nation (v6)

This demonstrates that the New Testament church to whom Peter is writing, in what is modern Turkey, is Israel. Both passages describe the one covenant people of God; hence dispensationalists and Jewish pre-millennialists are in error.

The true Israel of God are:

  1. Catholic (Jew and Gentile)-there were always proselytes alongside Jews in the first century church.
  2. Elect according to foreknowledge (Deut.7:6-8), foreknowledge being God’s sovereign eternal love.
  3. Sanctified-then by animal blood (external and ceremonial cleansing), now by Christ’s blood (internally and in reality)-note both sprinkled as redemption is applied.
  4. The goal is obedience (Ex.19:5, 24:7, I Peter 1:14 and I Peter 3 (wives)).
  5. The N.T. is better as we have definite rebirth and eternal heavenly inheritance (inheritance of land an emphasis in O.T).
  6. Trials (all of life) all to the purpose of purifying our faith (I Peter 1:7)-the Jews manifestly failed on this score e.g. in the wilderness.

But thank God, in Christ, we have the “full package” of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace etc) along with faith and a lively hope through the resurrection of Christ, to whom we are bound eternally.

Drink Offering (final)

Drink Offering

Sung Psalm 116:9-19

Reading Numbers 15:1-12

Note that the wine of the drink offering was poured out twice daily after the daily burnt offering and the meal offering. It was also poured out after any and every burnt offering on the occasions outlined in v3 namely annual pilgrimage feast days, a vow or freewill offering, and again after and along with the meal offering. Further-more it was also offered with the peace offering (v8). The difference here is that this sacrifice after the burning of the fat and innards, was eaten signifying fellowship with God.

To summarise what all these offerings typify: As we already said, the burnt offering is the accomplishment of atonement for sin by the complete and perfect sacrifice of the consecrated Christ, burnt up under God’s wrath for us, bringing justification, sanctification and ultimately glorification by his Holy Spirit. As a result, his people offer themselves as meal offerings with joy (drink offering) as they too consecrate themselves to his service.

When were these daily burnt offerings first offered? Answer-Mt. Sinai (Exodus 29:38). The meal and drink offerings offered simultaneously and described in Leviticus 1-7 were also offered with the daily burnt offering but not the other “ordinary” burnt offerings till they had access to more wine and flour in the promised land (Lev.23:10ff, Numbers 15:2)

We guess that the drink offering was poured over the burnt offering and the meal offering, while they were being consumed and none was ever drunk by the people or priests. The drink offering was never offered after the sin or trespass offering perhaps because these were for specific sins requiring confession and reparation.

The fact that the meal offering and drink offering always accompanied the daily burnt offering means that for the Christian there is no real joy without Christ and consecration to him.

In Psalm 116: 13 in connection with Leviticus 7:16 David offers a peace offering, and vows to thank God for his salvation (deliverance from his enemies), witnessing publicly among God’s people and not for pride or ostentation (c.f. Matthew 6:5)

The Daily Burnt Offering in the New Testament

The Daily Burnt Offering in the New Testament


Sung Psalm 116:9-19

Reading Matthew 27:35-54

The first allusion to the daily burnt offering in the New Testament is found in Luke 1:10 where Zacharias was offering incense in the temple and the people were praying outside. We learn from Exodus 30:7-9 that the morning and evening daily burnt offerings were contemporaneous with the morning and evening offering of incense. Psalm 141:2 also ties incense offering to the daily burnt offering twice daily.

The crucifixion of Christ occurred at 9am, the time of the daily morning sacrifice (Mark 15:25) and his death occurred at 3pm, the time of the daily evening sacrifice (Matthew 27:50) while he also fulfilled the whole burnt offering in his total consecration to God enabling us to become the meal offering and the drink offering.

As a result of his death, the ceremonial law of offerings was abolished typified by the veil which the hand of God tore from top to bottom, the substance of which was a picture of his flesh.

The Spirit was poured out leading to preaching of the gospel at 9am (Acts 2:15) at Pentecost on the basis of the accomplishment of the cross. Acts 3:1 details the ninth hour 3pm which was the time of evening prayer. Both timings point to the times of the daily burnt offerings.

Finally in Philippians (Phil. 2:17,18) Paul sees himself as a drink offering offered on top of his flock’s meal offering of themselves and all based on Christ’s work. He is speaking of his impending death (II Tim.4:6). These two occasions are the only use of this Greek word (SPENDOMAI) in Scripture.

The Offerings (continued)

The Offerings


Remember the twice daily burnt offering included the whole burnt offering, meal offering and drink offering. We can follow the offerings through the Old Testament starting with David in Psalm 92:1-3 and 141:1-2 where he compares his own devotions to the daily sacrifices which in the temple may well have included Psalms of praise (II Chron. 29 and I Chron.16) and definitely included incense which typified prayer ascending to God.

Following the prophets we can infer that even the apostate Northern Kingdom of Israel kept offering (though hypocritically) in Hosea 9:4 and Amos 4:4 which strongly suggests a daily burnt offering.

Ezekiel’s vision of a new temple most definitely includes daily sacrifices (46:13-15 c.f. Exodus 29:40 regarding amounts) and 45:17.

When we reach Daniel, the last prophet to speak of sacrifices, it is in conjunction with eschatology including the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes in 8:11-13, 11:31 and 9:21,24-which links the daily burnt offering with Christ’s cross and 12:11 which brings us to the Antichrist who makes true worship impossible. Hence Daniel speaks of the essential nature of these sacrifices in Israel’s worship and the abolishing of them caused by abominable idolatry. He speaks of “everlasting righteousness” which we would call justification which is typified by the daily whole burnt offering which for us (and them prospectively) was realized by Christ’s perfect obedience to the whole law on our behalf summed up by Paul in Romans 8:3,4, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

The Offerings (continued)

The Offerings (cont.)

Sung Psalm 104:10-16 note wine making man’s heart glad.

Reading Exodus 29:38-46

From what we gleaned so far, all the offerings taken together teach that the joy of the believer in God (to whom all the drink offering of wine was poured out) (Ps.33:1, Phil.4:4), is based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his imputed righteousness (whole burnt offering), in the covenant (salt), through consecration of the believer (meal offering), prayer( frankincense) and without sin (leaven and honey).

In the passage above, particularly 41-46 we see covenant expressions (God meets with, speaks to and dwells with his people).

The daily burnt offering (morning and evening) from the believer’s viewpoint is a picture of the Christian life resting on the sacrifice of Christ, dedicated to him and full of joy. The twice daily offering is a good example of our own devotions to God morning and evening (Psalm 55:17). We believe they were 9am and 3pm.

We reviewed the order of Ex.28 dealing with Priests’ garments followed by Ex.29, the Priests’ consecration followed by the daily burnt offering. Numbers 28 details the daily offerings.

Historical examples of the twice daily sacrifices:

I Kings 18;29,36, II Kings 3:20 (the king ought to have been consecrated to God but instead made sinful ecumenical alliances) II Kings 16:15, I Chron.16:40 (David’s reformation), II Chron. 2:11 (Solomon), 31:3 (Hezekiah). Ezra 3:3, 9:4,5, Neh.10:33.