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Patterns (4) – Conversion and Obedience

The apostle said that the things recorded had been listed as examples. That the first people of God, their lives and conditions; their story might be of benefit. Israel’s bondage is given there as a type of the Corinthian’s (and therefore our own) bondage in sin. Moses the deliverer was then a type of Christ, who is the antitype by example.

The apostle was noting that there was a juxtaposition of the physical kingdom of Israel with the spiritual kingdom of Heaven. Salvation for Israel from Egyptian bondage was the type for our own salvation from sin. One is the example for the other; and the current situation is reflected in the old.

Therefore, it follows, that the new covenant and ordinances are typified in the pattern from out of the old covenant and its examples; one the form for the other.

So we have God given examples — forms and types — providing a master print for comparison in what we should do, given that we may learn by them and not make the same mistakes or cover the same worn and rocky ground that has been gone over before; and the old presages the new. One pattern begat the other.

In Hebrews 8:4 and 5 we have a statement from God with reference to building things, that is, religious things, according to his pattern.

“For if he were on earth (here in this context referring to Christ), he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the Law: who serve to the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: ‘For see,’ said he, ‘that you make all things according to the pattern that was showed to you in the mount.’”

Here it is plainly stated that God gave a pattern to Moses for the building of the ark, the worship tent, and all the particulars, and how each should be constructed, used, and carted about. The passage referred and quoted here is Exodus 25:40 — “And look that you make them after their pattern which was shown to you in the mount.”

No less of a pattern was given through Christ.

In 1 Chronicles 28:19 David stated the Lord had showed him the pattern for the Temple in writing, and thereby, his son, Solomon was obliged to build everything according to the given written instructions.

It should be noted that the Temple was sanctified when it was completed because God sanctified it, not Solomon, not David, some other king, and not any man (see 2 Chronicles 7:12).

Prior to that time God had chosen other places to receive his oblations (see Exodus 20:24, Deuteronomy 12:5, 6, 11, 13, 14 and elsewhere).

The point is that God did the choosing — not the people or some council, not the king, not the priest and not the prophet. Where God’s name was inscribed was his chosen place of worship, of the giving of gifts, and then of the offering of sacrifices; and it was chosen by the Lord God Almighty every time, and by no other. And the items prescribed were delineated by God, not by proxy.

The only difference is that Israelites were born or proselytized into their kingdom. Christians are born again, or “born from above” and then are free to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But all had to be and must be obedient; to be acceptable to God, as the prophets all attest.

What God requires is what we should desire. In fact, to be pleasing and to gain salvation we must indeed be found both faithful and diligent in service.

So belief without the requisite action means our worship is worthless — “for faith without works is dead being alone.” And not just any action will do, and not some activities that we choose — but through those identified in obedience to God; “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

To know what God demands, to find the things we must do, we must read and heed his word. “For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Then must come more action; we must move from out of the life we have been living and toward the light and into the life that God would have us to live. We must confess in our lives and with our words and deeds that Jesus is Lord and the Son of God. “The one that confesses me before men, that one will I confess before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)

We must turn away from the old, “For the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30)

The resurrection of Christ is honored through our submission to baptism — by our immersion in water. Paul said, “I do not want you to be unaware that all of our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea, all were baptized (immersed) into Moses in the cloud and the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.” And later in the same letter: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jew or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

“And now what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized to wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16)

Therefore, the antitype must be that whoever — whether Saul of Tarsus or those Corinthians (and then us too) — must be or are all to be immersed into Christ by the waters of baptism to gain salvation. You don’t wash the clean clothes; and just as you load the dirty clothes in a washing machine to retrieve them later as clean, so we are told baptism acts to release us from sin.

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26)

“There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the response of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (1 Peter 3:21, 22)