Spiritual Ascent
Ezekiel 40:26, 31
And there were seven steps to go up to it, and the arches thereof were before them: and it had palm trees, one on this side…

There were seven steps to go up to it - the outer court; "and the going up to it [the inner court] had eight steps." Translating this into the Christian analogue, we learn -

I. THAT TO BE IN THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST IS TO OCCUPY A NOBLE HEIGHT. The base of the temple was the summit of a "very high mountain" (ver. 2); to be anywhere within even its outer precincts was to be far above the world. To be in the kingdom of God, even to be the least therein, is to stand in the place of very high privilege indeed (see Matthew 11:11). But not of privilege only; of spiritual well-being also. It is to be high and far above the baseness of selfishness, of vanity, of ingratitude, of rebelliousness; above the low ground of unbelief, of indecision, of procrastination. It is to live and move on the sacred heights of devotion, of sacred service, of consecration, of the sonship and friendship of the living God.

II. THAT WITHIN THAT KINGDOM ARE DEGREES OF SPIRITUAL ALTITUDE. Not every one that is "in Christ Jesus" stands on the same spiritual level. There is not only considerable variety of character and service, there is also much difference in degree of attainment. There are those who are behind and those who are before in the race; there are those who stand lower down in the outer court and those who stand higher up in the inner court. Many are the degrees among the disciples of Christ in:

1. Knowledge. Some have but a very elementary acquaintance with the truth of God; some hold the faith of Christ much mixed with corrupt accretions; others have a comparatively clear view of the doctrines taught by Christ and by his apostles; there are those who have gone far into "the deep things of God."

2. Piety. A Christian man may have but a slender capacity for devotion; he may only be able to worship God and commune with him feebly and occasionally, with no power of sustained devotion; or he may have ascended the higher ground, and be "praying always;" his "walk may be close with God;" he may be "a devout man and full of the Holy Ghost."

3. Moral worth. From the recently converted idolater whose licentious habits cling to him and have to be hardly and laboriously torn away by long and earnest struggle, to the saintly man or woman who, inheriting the purified nature and disposition of reverent and godly parents, has breathed the air of purity and goodness all his days, and has grown up into holiness and Christliness in a very marked degrees there is a great ascent.

4. Influence, and consequent usefulness. There are those whose influence counts for very little among their fellows; there are others who weigh much, whose presence is a power for good everywhere, who can produce a peat and valuable effect by their words of wisdom.

III. THAT SPIRITUAL ASCENT IS ATTAINED BY DIVINELY PROVIDED MEANS. There were steps or stairs leading up from the lower to the higher ground within the temple. There are steps of which we may avail ourselves if we would rise in the kingdom of God. They are these:

1. Worship; including public worship in the sanctuary, meeting the Master at his table, private prayer in the home and the quiet chamber.

2. Study; including the reading of the Scriptures and also of the lives of the best and noblest of the children of men.

3. Fellowship with the good; associating daily and weekly with those like-minded with ourselves, and choosing for our most intimate friends those, and those only, whose convictions and sympathies are sustaining and uplifting.

4. Activity in one or other of the many fields of sacred usefulness. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And there were seven steps to go up to it, and the arches thereof were before them: and it had palm trees, one on this side, and another on that side, upon the posts thereof.

WEB: There were seven steps to go up to it, and its arches were before them; and it had palm trees, one on this side, and another on that side, on its posts.

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