The Sanctuary of the Heart
(Part 7 of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series)
Are we – our physical bodies – likened to the sanctuary with its different apartments?
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Rom 7:18)
Evidently, Paul had a problem which he describes in detail:
“22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom 7:22-25)
That passage is diagrammed below to make clear the struggle Paul had.
What does he mean “another law in my members warring against the law of my mind”? – Paul had an inner conflict between wanting to do the will of God and having flesh programmed to do otherwise. But not programmed by God. Rather, programmed by what he had inherited, learned and habitually cultivated within himself.
Notice the distinction:
The mind in the inward man delights in the law of God.
The flesh in Paul’s members is wretched while serving sin.
Those desires can be at peace with each other if they are the same. A carnally-minded man living the carnal lifestyle will have no conflict between the two. But when a person’s mind comes under conviction of the law of God, then there is a war – a war in the conscience. A war between the mind (the inward man) now under conviction of the law of God and the flesh which is still following the law of sin.
Flesh itself (what we normally think of – parts of the body such as arms and legs etc) does not desire anything nor is it sinful. Desire is a function of the mind. Sinful flesh refers to that part of the mind (mainly the subconscious mind) which, if not renewed, desires the things of the flesh.
We can know that the flesh itself is not sinful as Jesus Himself came with flesh like ours:
“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 [sarx, G4561], and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (Rom 8:3)
His flesh was weakened by the same 4,000 years of accumulated defects since creation as anyone else in His day. Yet there was no sin in Him because He never chose to sin (a function of the mind).
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Heb 2:14)
While He had the same flesh as us, He had, by choice, a different mind:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Phil 2:5)
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom 5:19)
All of Adam’s descendants were made sinners in that they had sinful flesh (the genetic predisposition to selfishness etc) – that is all that Adam had to pass on to them.
“Were made sinners” is referring to the wiring in the mind that causes us to naturally be alienated from God. It is not an outwardly physical change in the body. The many becoming righteous in also a change that happens in the wiring of the mind and it is the reverse of the previous state.
Why Write in the Heart?
To whom did God propose that He would write His law in their hearts? – the Israelites. Did they know the law as in having it memorized? Sure. So if they already had it in their brains (stored in memory) where was He going to write it? In their heart. What is the difference? Think of the Pharisees. They knew the letters of the law very well but did not have the spirit of the law. The law in the heart includes the motive to obey its principles.
Paul’s inward self had been changed – he consciously delighted in the law while, at the same time, there were the desires of his flesh that were not pure. Here we see two parts of him – the flesh (subconscious) and the inward man, the heart or mind (conscious).
In the brain there are two apartments as this suggests – the subconscious and the “heart” or the conscious mind.
Where was the written law in the earthly sanctuary? – the most holy place.
Where is the law written in our body sanctuary? It is written in the heart
Could the most holy place be equivalent to our mind/heart?
Many people have studied the sanctuary and its parallels to the human body/mind. This even seems to apply to angels including Satan himself:
“Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.” (Eze 28:18)
“Sanctuaries” should be in the singular. This is no reference to God’s sanctuary in heaven it is “thy” – Satan’s – sanctuary. This would be Satan’s own mind (where God was once able to dwell) but could no longer once it was defiled. It is the evil thoughts, the misconceptions of God’s character that he has stored in his mind – these will, in the end, come forth and devour him. He will not be destroyed by a force coming from outside of him as in from God.
The sanctuary model illustrates a progression of understanding of truth from the outer court to the most holy place.
Intellect The understanding is enlightened by the light (candlestick) and the word (table of showbread) of God.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6)
That was for the purpose of helping us to understand the true character of God as revealed in the life (face or presence) of Jesus.
Heart When that knowledge is truly appreciated and finds a place in our hearts the result is that we will value His law. It will not just be memorized but it will be cherished as the rule of life. It will automatically come into the mind when questions of conscience arise.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” (Heb 8:10)
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” (Eph 3:17)
“By faith” whose faith? – ours; faith is our action. Faith and trust are similar. If we will trust Him enough to invite Him in; He certainly will come in. It is our act of faith that makes room (a welcome place) for Him in our hearts.
So we have established that the human heart is a sanctuary; a place for God to dwell safely and a place for His law.
This is Part 7 of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series
Return to Daniel 8:14 (the master page of the series) to continue