And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments…
What the faithful priest was under the Law, that the "good minister" is under Christ (1 Timothy 4:6). And while the form of service is altogether different, the spirit should be the same. The ideal priest, as here delineated, is, mutatis mutandis, the true bishop or pastor of the New Testament. The latter is -
I. STUDIOUS OF HIS MASTER'S WILL, EVEN IN SMALL PARTICULARS. The priest was to carry out very minute instructions (see vers. 17-20). The minister of Christ is freed from the observance of such particulars, but still he is to be regardful of the will of Christ in everything. He is to carry a Christian temper and bearing everywhere. If in the view of the Master there was a right and a wrong way of entering a room and taking a seat (see Luke 14:7-10), so may there be a right and a wrong way of entering a pulpit, or reading a chapter, or visiting a cottage.
II. CAREFUL TO BE AT HIS BEST IN PUBLIC MINISTRATIONS. The priest was to avoid the drinking of wine at or near the time of sacrifice (ver. 21). The true minister of Christ will
(1) shun everything in the way of bodily indulgence which unfits him, and
(2) study and practice every habit, whether physical or mental, which will qualify him, for the discharge of his sacred duties with the utmost efficiency.
III. AN EXEMPLAR IN ALL MATTERS OF PURITY. (Vers. 22, 25, 26.) In all domestic relations, as husband and father (see 1 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 1:6). And in all his relations with either sex it becomes him to be a pattern of purity; not only shunning that which is positively wrong and guilty, that which is condemned in terms, but avoiding even the approaches to evil in this direction, knowing the great importance that he should encourage all, more especially the young, in that thorough purity (of heart, of word, and of deed) without which no character can be beautiful in the sight of God.
IV. ONE THAT EXPOUNDS AND ENFORCES PRACTICAL RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Ver. 23.) What the people have a right to look for from their Christian teacher is:
1. A full, clear, forcible declaration of those truths which determine their relation to God, First of all, men want to be brought into a right relation with him; until that is done it may be said that nothing is done; estranged and separated from God, there is no rest or rightness for the human heart. Then comes:
2. A clear enunciation of Christian morals; such an exposition of duty that men shall know and feel the distinction between what is right and what is wrong in all their dealings with their fellow-men, in all their home relations, in all the varied spheres in which they, move.. The minister of Christ is to be, like Noah, a "preacher of righteousness, he is so to speak that those who hear him will be powerfully encouraged in every virtue, strongly dissuaded from every evil way and all unworthiness in temper and spirit.
V. A MAN OF AN ESSENTIALLY DEVOUT LIFE. (Vers. 24, 27, 28.) One that delights in the worship of God, that does not fail to use well the privileges provided by the day and the house of the Lord, that finds his chief and best inheritance in God himself; to whom the Fatherhood of God and the friendship and service of Jesus Christ are (and not merely bring) an "exceeding great reward." He is to be a man who can say that "to him to live is Christ," and that, conversely, to know and love and serve Christ is life indeed. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.
WEB: It shall be that, when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come on them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.