Ezekiel 44:17-18 – “And it shall be, when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with bleached linen clothing. And no wool shall come on them while they serve in the gates of the inner court, and inside. Turbans of bleached linen shall be on their heads, and shall have bleached linen undergarments on their loins. They shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”
Did you ever buy a deodorant that didn’t…do what it was supposed to do, stop the sweat? I have. Though I meant to buy an antiperspirant, I picked up something else instead. I realized it after preaching when I had those big sweat circles under my armpits on my nice shirt. Yuck, right?
If you study the Old Testament through the eyes of grace, you will see it in a lot of places. Like this one in Ezekiel 44:17-18. It’s speaking of the priest’s garments, and specifically the High Priest, who went into the Holy of Holies on behalf of the people once a year. It tells us here that they were not to wear anything that would cause them to sweat or perspire. Interestingly, these priests were a type of Christ in the New Covenant. In John 1:14 it says that Jesus is “full of grace and truth”. The law represented works, self-effort, performance, SWEAT, working hard to get something.
Now I’m not saying you never do anything, and get lazy. Instead it’s a matter of who or what you are trusting in. Are you trusting in the length of your prayer time and your prayers? How long you fast? How much you give? I believe in all those things, but grace is a response, not a means to an end. Did you get that?
In grace it’s done, finished, you can rest in the promises of God. Again, not the kind of rest where you don’t do anything and say, “I don’t have to go to church, I’m under grace”, or “I don’t have to give, I’m under grace”. No you go to church in response to the grace of God, you give in response to the grace of God.
Sweat represents working for something, earning something, hard work. Sweat comes from living under the law. Jesus said “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Rest is grace. So enter into His rest today. Trust in the finished work of Jesus, the High Priest of your confession. Simply agree with Him, stop trying to make the Word happen in your life. Enjoy the sweatless grace that Jesus provided for you today! No sweat!