—Ezekiel 44:23 (NASB)
Through Ezekiel, God provides a contrast of the characteristics of a true priesthood that is doing His will according to His Word to that of the historically corrupt priesthoods experienced by nearly every generation. This is fascinating stuff if you consider that God communicated through Peter that we “are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood”.  Many of the underlying principles of the Old Testament priesthood teach something about the New Testament priesthood. To what degree do you suppose that we, too, are responsible to “teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane”?
To be sure, the literal application for the Old Testament priesthood in this regard centered on the temple and associated operation of the offerings and celebrations, but it was not strictly limited to just this. God’s Word made clear distinctions between people, things, and situations that would be encountered in everyday life that fit into the categories of being either “clean” or “unclean”. The priests and Levites were not only supposed to just read God’s Law to the people, but teach them how to apply it so that they could discern when something was clean or unclean, and what to do about it. In fact, Israel’s legal system was supposed to use this criteria as a major tool for deciding if and when the Law was broken and punish accordingly. It wasn’t simply a duty to convey information, but intended as a structure of accountability for putting that information into actual practice.
An Old Testament priest would never hesitate for even a second to consider whether homosexuality was right or wrong, whether dating while separated from a spouse was right or wrong, or whether abortion was right or wrong. Yet many of our New Testament priests not only don’t seem to know, but espouse the opposite conclusion. I would submit that society’s downward moral spiral mirrors the church’s growing myopia to “the difference between the holy and the profane, and…between the unclean and the clean”. These standards have mostly been lost within the walls of the church, so what hope is there that they’ll influence anything beyond them?
But it’s easy to rail on about the lack of effectiveness of the current church in the world, so let’s not lose site of the very specific group who God says is supposed to be taught and discerning the difference: “My people”. The application here is to what degree we PERSONALLY abide by God’s standards for holiness, and the effort we make to imbue them to our fellow Believers. It’s not popular to draw the line which gives no accommodation for something being anything but unclean or clean, but it’s a requirement that comes with giving up the world for the cross, for building His church into the right kind of living temple.
I honestly believe that a significant reason for the growing resistance to all things “Christian” is that no one clearly sees what “Christians” stand for. They’ve compromised the distinction “between the unclean and the clean” to such a degree that it’s difficult at best to see them as anything but unclean themselves, tainted by all the things with which the world itself is stricken. We need to be teaching — and living — the difference.†††