A man shall never approach the Lord irresponsibly. Each one approaching the Lord should know the reason for approaching Him and the manner in which he or she should approach. It has been made possible by men belonging to churches to approach God in strange ways. This produces a meaningless attitude toward God that incurs His wrath. And, death certainly is the end for such attitude. Though death may not be seen as instantly coming upon those approaching God irresponsibly, the power of death reigns in them eventually leading them to death. The power of death in a man is the reason for his works of sin. Therefore, everyone must approach God only according to His commandments and the one approaching Him must be holy. “Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died” (Lev. 16:1).
Most of us, if not all, heard of the end of Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, and how they offered a strange offering to the Lord. Though they were of the tribe of Levi, the chosen people to serve at the altar of God, they did not escape their irresponsible act. In fact, it was their choice of God that made them more susceptible to death that came by fire. Firstly, because they were given an extraordinary work of making atonement for the sins of Israel; secondly, in order to make atonement they were given the holy work of approaching the Lord. This nature of God’s choice the present day churches must realize. Whether death comes instantly, the works that they perform before God must not be strange to His commandments. When a Christian performs or lives against the law of Christ, death has begun reigning in him. It is for this reason that James, the apostle, elsewhere said that just as a body without soul is dead so is faith without works. Christians are not to perform any works, but are to perform works according to the commandments of God. To think that one can fulfill God’s commands with any works that he or she performs in His name is foolishness; it leads to death.
The primary reason behind the death of Aarons’ sons is their disbelief in God’s commandments. This led to their strange offering. They did not believe that their irresponsible acts toward God’s commandments will result in death. Belief in God always produces obedience leading to reverence; a reverence that keeps us away from death. Works performed in such reverence to God are not meaningless, but are the life to faith in Him. This alone gives us an opportunity to live before God and approach Him responsibly.
Everyone that approaches the presence of God and receives the sentence of death becomes an abomination to Him. Their works reveal the sentence of death. It is for this reason that God exhorted His people saying, “Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to the LORD and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you” (2 Chron. 30:8). The sanctuary that God has given to the churches in these last days is Christ. He has consecrated Him forever that those who enter into Him will escape His wrath. Those who enter into Christ are given the freedom to constantly approach the presence of God without fear, but in reverence. Nonetheless, each one entering into Christ must enter according to the commandments of God. Much has been revealed by God in a short admonition. Everyone must obey the Lord in all matters relating to Him and enter His sanctuary. They are consecrated to serve Him, thus, leading them to life. Yet, this does not begin without first having belief in Christ; the belief that eventually leads to our sanctification. It is only those who are sanctified in Christ that enter into Christ. These are the ones that deliberately serve the Lord their God. They are able to perform the works of faith that reveals life.
While there will always be those that reveal the sentence of death, those that reveal life is the choice of God. “I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; Then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace” (Song. 8:10). How apparent to the eye is the choice of God! The life that is present in His choice people cannot be hidden. The beauty and brightness of God’s people can be compared with none. They are distinctive. What man or woman who has approached God’s presence according to His commandments have not found peace? The peace that God gives to His choice people comes from the life He gives to them through the works of faith they perform. Now, death no longer has the power to reign over them. It is God who makes them apparent to those carrying the sentence of death, as they first believed in His commandments. The power of believing God is so vast that even the one who continues to believe cannot measure the works that God desires to produce in him, except to possess the power to hope in Him. It is for this reason Christ declared that His words are spirit and life. All that matters to the one who desires to possess life is to believe His words. His words are the words of the Spirit, the commandments of God. He who obeys God will receive the Spirit that he may perform works for God. This is the crux of the matter relating to the life that comes from God.
Yet, regarding this matter how many churches are found to have stiffened their necks! They are like the wall with many breaches and like one without breasts. Their form is apparent to those that pass by them. They have not grown; their foundations are false. They speak of God and His Son, but their body remains formless. At the time of their reckoning, what shall be said of them? Had they believed, God would have filled them with life that served Him. Therefore, listen to the wrath of God upon the nation that did not serve Him. “I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, and the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD” (Zeph. 1:3). And, the time shall come when those with the sentence of death will be separated from those with life. Do not consider lightly the anger of the Lord. For because of it many have died. As gracious is the love of God, so merciless is His wrath. There is not a man on the earth or angel in heaven that can measure His love or wrath upon mankind. As much as we consider his love to be patient toward us, it can disappear quickly. Know that if you do not believe His words, the kingdom of God has come upon you and those that believed will be your judges.
O churches, are you willing to be cut off from the face of the earth, even from the presence of the Lord? If you are not willing, approach the presence of God according to His commandments; not by a directive of man or by an interference of a tradition. Each one of you seek belief from His word and you will find life, a life that guides you even in the valley of shadow of death and provides you with the goodness of God. Our God is a God who keeps His word. “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee” (Luke 24:6). What Christ has spoken He will fulfill. He will provide you such that His life in you brings utmost glory to God. He makes you His servant; He makes you like Him. This is the ability of the risen Christ. You will not be like the Nadab and Abihu that could not believe in the commandments of God and died.
What great assurance did the words of those men bring in those who heard them! It was an assurance filled with the joy and astonishment that Christ Jesus is indeed greater and mightier than the power of death. Any sorrow, pain and turmoil causing power that brings death to men are effortlessly removed by the mighty power of Jesus. This Jesus, who overcame the power of death, will be the life to you, if you believe. Where then will be the power of death? It will be overcome by you in every way through Jesus. If He said that He would be crucified by sinful men and rise again on the third day and it came to pass, imagine the effect He could produce in us when we believe in all His words. It is the lack of this belief that made many churches to stiffen their necks.
“And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE’” (Acts 23:5). Unless they wholly believe that Jesus Christ is their ruler, they cannot obey; not only they, but even you when you do not completely believe. They will continue to speak what does not pertain to Christ. Jesus is the anointed of God made ruler of all creation. He who does not believe His words cannot speak the truth abiding in them. For his lack of obedience has made God hide the truth that gives life. The power of death reigns in him. Furthermore, his disobedience will bring out from him ulterior explanations to His words, thus, making him a transgressor of the commandment. His explanations are the strange ways. He approached the Lord irresponsibly.
For this reason, i.e. in order to become holy and serve God, to be with a perfect form and become in His eyes as one who finds peace, the churches must first seek to believe Him “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).