November 29 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“So he measured the area on all four sides. It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the holy from the common.” ~Ezekiel 42:20

OLD TESTAMENT

As noted yesterday, it seems best to view Ezekiel’s vision as a God-given dream about complete restoration in the future. Many biblical scholars believe that apocalyptic literature (like that found in Ezekiel and Revelation) uses the familiar to help people get their minds around the otherworldly. (To understand how difficult this is, imagine trying to explain to a medieval villager a flat device that hangs on the wall and shows images of events unfolding on the other side of the world.) God utilizes a beloved, highly-symbolic landmark, Solomon’s Temple, to reveal a gloriously restored future to Ezekiel. The temple of the vision appears to be an elaborate rendition of the one destroyed during Ezekiel’s day.

A day is coming, the Lord reveals, when worship will be completely restored. It will be like the worship experience Ezekiel has come to know and love—with all the beauty of the temple—only better. It will be something like this, but it will be more beautiful and more grand, and it will feel like coming home!

Our expectations for the life to come should be big and bold and beautiful because what we’re looking forward to affects how we live today. Religious philosopher, Peter Kreeft, wrote in his book, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, “Our pictures of Heaven do not move us; they are not moving pictures. It is this aesthetic failure that threatens faith most potently today. Our pictures of Heaven are dull, platitudinous and syrupy; therefore, so is our faith, our hope, and our love of Heaven.” We’re looking forward to a real future restoration. It will be grand and superbly lovely and also familiar and comfortable. God will be present, and that’s a vision to give us hope.

NEW TESTAMENT

Peter offers a curious exhortation, “make every effort to confirm your calling and election” (1 Peter 1:10). His statement begs the question, if we have been chosen, what more do we need to do?

Within Scripture, theologians have identified two strands of “proof ” to confirm one is truly a member of the elect community. In some circles, these proofs are collectively known as “assurance of salvation.” The first strand, the objective evidence, is my confession. I look back on my confession and baptism and say, “I made a commitment to Christ, calling upon Him as my Lord and Savior, and received His cleansing.”

The second strand, the subjective evidence, is our assurance that the commitment was real. The subjective evidence is the spiritual growth and transformation that has happened (and is happening) in my life since my conversion. I am adding to my faith, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and so on (2 Peter 1:5-8). We need both strands to do as Peter suggests, to confirm our calling and election. There are certainly days when we see evidence of salvation, but it looks rather thin!

When we cooperate in “increasing measure” (2 Peter 1:8) with what God has done, we become increasingly sure that we are members of the elect. So let us grow in grace while we wait for the “rich welcome” that will be ours someday (2 Peter 1:11).


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.